Postdoc or engineer position in processor design and optimization

Duration : 24 months

Beginning: June 2020

Project : NV-APROC funded by the French ANR agency

Context : Micro and nano electronics integrated circuit domain is today mainly driven by the advent of the internet
of things for which the constraints are strong, especially in terms of power consumption and autonomy,
not only during the computing phases, but also during the standby or sleep phases. In such application,
the circuit behavior also has to meet new constraints mainly linked to changing energetic environment,
automatic wake up on event, data storage when the circuit is sporadically turned off, and ultra-low
voltage power supply for instance. The insertion of non-volatility is a crucial element to reach such
objectives. Today efforts mainly focus on out-of-plane Spin Transfer Torque switching Magnetic Tunnel
Junctions (STT-MTJ), that are dense using 2 terminals. A new generation seems to be much more
promising for the coming years, according to the state of the art. These are Spin Orbit Torque MRAM
(SOT-MRAM), for which SPINTEC has a great knowledge and experience. In contrast to that STTMTJ,
this SOT-MRAM has the main advantage to have 3 terminals. This enables to separate writing
and reading paths, leading to an improved robustness and endurance. One of the objective of the project
is the implementation of this hybrid solution on a 28nm FDSOI technology, which is today one of the
emerging solutions energetically efficient, particularly with the use of its body biasing capabilities.

Position and missions : The main tasks of this position would be to design and implement a non-volatile low-power
microprocessor on an ASIC platform, on a very advanced process such as 28nm FD-SOI. The processor
code will be provided by partners or open source. However, strategic modifications of the architecture
and/or the implementation will be considered to take advantage of the non-volatility and the FDSOI
technology. The non-volatility will be based on both STT-MTJ and SOT-MTJ standard cells developed
within the project, in the framework of this NV-APROC project. The candidate will have first to
modify source codes of the microprocessor to meet the relevant architecture that will be defined during
the next months. Then the candidate will develop, with the help of the IC Design group, a specific
digital design flow that enables to run simulations, synthesis and place and route jobs using these
specific cells. Then, this processor will be simulated, synthetized, and placed & routed in order to
be as much efficient as possible, targeting the milestones and project requirements such as low-power
capabilities. A solid knowledge of processor architecture and digital design techniques, synthesis
and Place and Route is mandatory for this position. Since the global target is a low-power ASIC,
knowledge in clock and/or power gating and any other low-power techniques would be also
The candidate will be integrated to the CEA/CNRS/UGA – SPINTEC’s Spintronics IC Design team
in Grenoble, giving support on spintronics and CMOS/Magnetic ideas and strategies, in close
collaboration with LIRMM laboratory and CEA-LETI/DACLE design team.
To apply:
Research Engineer:

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