Bubble NoC – A Low Energy Network-on-Chip with Small Footprint and High Performance
preprintposted on 17.12.2021, 11:49 by Gunnar Carlstedt, Mats RimborgMats Rimborg
The Bubble NoC is based on simplicity and provides outstanding performance. Flow control is implemented by bubbles, which are inserted between the flits. The logic resembles a traffic situation where a vehicle only moves if the next position is empty. When a flit moves, a bubble is created behind it, and when there is a blocking the bubbles are collapsed as the flits behind are packed together. Even when the Bubble NoC is saturated, it degrades gracefully, and the execution continues.
Deterministic prerouting is used, with the address stored as markers in a 2 out of 32 code. The routing algorithm shifts the address one step at each hop and turns or finishes when a marker starts the address.
The physical implementation is a mesh of streets containing duplex links of 38 wires carrying 32-bit payload. Signaling is based on current injection that charges the wires. A switch is placed in a four-way crossing, with a fifth local connection into a street. The switch contains input registers for each approaching street. Straight through traffic is simply passed on, and a diagonal gate is used for turning traffic.
All switches are bidirectional transmission gates, and the control is distributed as a sidewalk in a few µm of the periphery surrounding the intersection. In a 14 nm technology, the streets are 8 μm wide, the crossing is 17 μm in square, the hop frequency 6.67 GHz and the energy for a datapath 4.1 fJ/bit/hop (150 µm).