Patent number 8648645 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Under certain operating conditions a phenomenon referred to a 'voltage droop' may lead to an integrated circuit's power supply falling below proper operating levels. A voltage droop refers to a loss of supply voltage as a device tries to drive a load. For example, when power is supplied to a microprocessor, the sudden increase in current through the microprocessor may cause a loss in the supply voltage due to the package inductance. In other words, the sudden increase in the current drawn by the microprocessor causes a voltage droop because there is a high rate of change of current through the microprocessor package inductance.
"Voltage droop may occur during heavy loading conditions. In this case, the amount of current demanded by the processor exceeds that which can be provided by the power supply and, as result, the power supply voltage at the transistor level droops. Voltage droop may also occur under conditions where the processor draws current at a certain frequency. Depending on the power variation frequency, the processor may hit the resonance frequency associated with the combination of the package inductance and the chip capacitance. In this case, a voltage droop can occur at the voltage supply at the transistor level. In order to prevent an integrated circuit from operating outside of the appropriate range of power supply voltages, it may be desirable to monitor the power supply voltage and to take steps to mitigate voltage droop."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments discussed herein are directed to digital voltage regulator circuits. Digital voltage regulator circuits may be deployed in connection with an integrated circuit and used to prevent the integrated circuit's power supply from dropping below a certain threshold voltage. During heavy usage or heavy loading conditions, digital logic circuits or other components of an integrated circuit may demand high amounts of power from the integrated circuit's power supply. In these high usage conditions, an excessive amount of current may be drawn from the power supply resulting in a drop in the voltage of the power supply. If the voltage of the power supply drops below a certain level, the reduced power supply voltage may be insufficient to ensure proper operation of the integrated circuit. Accordingly, integrated circuits typically include voltage regulator circuits that prevent these low voltage conditions from occurring.
"One embodiment is directed to a digital voltage regulator component of an integrated circuit, the digital voltage regulator comprising: a voltage monitor configured to sample a power supply voltage of an integrated circuit during a clock cycle and configured to output a power supply voltage measurement; a voltage reference circuit connected to the voltage monitor and configured to output a voltage reference signal that is initially calibrated based on a first power supply voltage measurement received from the voltage monitor; and a comparator connected to the voltage monitor and to the voltage reference circuit and configured to assert a voltage droop signal when a power supply voltage measurement received from the voltage monitor falls below the voltage reference signal received from the voltage reference circuit; wherein the voltage reference circuit receives the voltage droop signal from the comparator and adjusts the voltage reference signal based on a plurality of voltage droop signal values received over time.
"One embodiment is directed to a method of regulating voltage in an integrated circuit, the method comprising: receiving a power supply voltage measurement and a voltage reference signal; outputting a voltage droop signal based on the power supply voltage measurement and the voltage reference signal, the voltage reference signal produced by: setting a voltage reference level based on an initial power supply voltage measurement; and shifting the voltage reference level based on a plurality of voltage droop signals received over time.
"One embodiment is directed to a digital voltage regulator slice, comprising: a voltage monitor configured to sample a power supply voltage of an integrated circuit during a clock cycle and configured to output a power supply voltage measurement, the voltage monitor having an output operable to connect to one or more subsequent digital voltage regulator slices; a priority encoder configured to receive the output from the voltage monitor and to provide an encoded output based on the output from the voltage monitor, the encoder output representing a sampled power supply voltage; a plurality of calibration flip-flops connected to the priority encoder, the plurality of calibration flip-flops configured to store the output from the priority encoder as a threshold voltage at a first time and to thereafter shift the threshold voltage based on a shift signal, the plurality of calibration flip-flops having an output operable to connect to the one or more subsequent digital voltage regulator slices; and a comparator connected to the priority encoder and to the plurality of calibration flip-flops and configured to assert a voltage droop slice signal when the power supply voltage represented by the encoded output from the priority encoder falls below the threshold voltage received from the plurality of calibration flip-flops."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Konstadinidis, Georgios; Bobba, Sudhakar; Greenhill, David. Microprocessor Performance and Power Optimization through Self Calibrated Inductive Voltage Droop Monitoring and Correction. U.S. Patent Number 8648645, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Microprocessors,
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