Reducing Power, Leakage, and Area of Standard-Cell ASICs Using Threshold Logic Flip-Flops

Niranjan Kulkarni, Jinghua Yang, Jae-sun Seo, Sarma Vrudhula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In this paper, we describe a new approach to reduce dynamic power, leakage, and area of application-specified integrated circuits, without sacrificing performance. The approach is based on a design of threshold logic gates (TLGs) and their seamless integration with conventional standard-cell design flow. We first describe a new robust, standard-cell library of configurable circuits for implementing threshold functions. Abstractly, the threshold gate behaves as a multi-input, single-output, edge-triggered flip-flop, which computes a threshold function of the inputs on the clock edge. The library consists of a small number of cells, each of which can compute a set of complex threshold functions, which would otherwise require a multilevel network. The function realized by a given threshold gate is determined by how signals are mapped to its inputs. We present a method for the assignment of signals to the inputs of a threshold gate to realize a given threshold function. Next, we present an algorithm that replaces a subset of flip-flops and portions of their logic cones in a conventional logic netlist, with threshold gates from the library. The resulting circuits, with both conventional and TLGs (called hybrid circuits), are placed and routed using commercial tools. We demonstrate significant reductions (using postlayout simulations) in power, leakage, and area of the hybrid circuits when compared with the conventional logic circuits, when both are operated at the maximum possible frequency of the conventional design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7430367
Pages (from-to)2873-2886
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Logic decomposition
  • low power (LP)
  • technology mapping
  • threshold logic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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