innovation for industry
SAN FRANCISCO – Feb. 17, 2020 – Leti and List, institutes of CEA-Tech, reported a high-performance processor breakthrough using an active interposer as a modular and energy- efficient integration platform solution that enables efficient integration of large-scale chiplet-based computing systems such as high-performance computing (HPC) and big-data applications.
A high level of performance in HPC and big-data technologies requires modular, scalable, energy-efficient, low-cost many-core systems. To scale out the architecture, existing techniques using 3D integration and chiplet partitioning with large-scale interposers were designed for building large modular architectures and achieving cost reduction in advanced technologies bydsds known-good-die (KGD) strategy and yield management.
In the framework of IRT Nanoelec, CEA-Leti and List overcame these limitations by introducing an active-interposer technology that enables integration of some active CMOS circuitry on a large-scale interposer. They also managed its implementation on a STMicroelectronics process using a 3D CAD tool design flow from Mentor Graphics, a Siemens business.
The active interposer integrates:
The work's results were presented Feb. 17 at ISSCC 2020 in the paper, "A 220GOPS 96-Core Processor with 6 Chiplets 3D-Stacked on an Active Interposer Offering 0.6ns/mm Latency, 3Tb/s/mm2 Inter-Chiplet Interconnects and 156mW/mm2 @ 82%-Peak-Efficiency DC-DC Converters."
"This is a breakthrough in terms of system-and-architecture integration, achieved all the way from the architecture concept down to a silicon prototype," said Pascal Vivet, lead author of the paper. "In addition, 3D technology and associated design techniques now are available to implement large-scale computing systems, offering for the first time a chiplet-based 96-core computing architecture."
Vivet explained that the active interposer integrates flexible and distributed interconnects, 3D-plug communication IP, and power management IP to offer overall a fully integrated and energy-efficient many-core computing architecture. As a result, users will get more GOPS at the same power budget – or a reduced energy footprint for the same task – and will benefit from an increased memory-computing ratio along the memory hierarchy. These are main drivers to address big data applications.
"Active interposer technology will also be an enabler to integrate heterogeneous functions," Vivet said. "Chiplet-based ecosystems will deploy rapidly in high-performance computing and various other market segments, such as embedded HPC for the automotive and other sectors. "The active interposers also create opportunities to revisit system partitioning and implement extra functions at the interposer level. The ecosystem collaborated to build future 3D technology platforms that will benefit from CEA technologies to create major differentiators in future work," Vivet said.
Future work will address die-to-wafer hybrid bonding technology, which offers denser 3D interconnects with better electrical, mechanical and thermal parameters, and allows ultra-dense, low-energy parallel interfaces. For the longer term, CEA-Leti is also investigating innovative photonic-interposer technology as a 3D-based photonic chiplet approach, offering low-latency, high-bandwidth, energy-efficient photonic communication.
The prototype's 96 computing cores are organized in six chiplets in 28nm FDSOI, CMOS node, which are 3D-stacked in a face-to-face configuration using 20µm pitch micro-bumps onto an active interposer embedding through-silicon vias (TSVs) in a 65nm technology node. The overall system architecture offers a fully scalable distributed cache-coherent architecture between all the chiplet computing tiles, which are interconnected through the active interposer. The innovative cache-coherent architecture allows easy software deployment through a hierarchy of caches, for full system scalability up to 512 cores.
This work has been funded by the French
National Program Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir, IRT Nanoelec under Grant
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CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.