Architectures and Design Methodology for Energy Efficient MIMO Decoders

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Title: Architectures and Design Methodology for Energy Efficient MIMO Decoders
Author: Jenkal, Ravi Somnath
Advisors: Dr. Xun Liu, Committee Member
Dr. Ilse Ipsen, Committee Member
Dr. Winser Alexander, Committee Member
Dr. Paul Franzon, Committee Member
Dr. William Rhett Davis, Committee Chair
Abstract: This work focuses on the design and implementation aspects of Multi-Input Multi-Output (MIMO) decoders for multi-antenna communications. These decoders are used to determine, either optimally or sub-optimally, the bits encoded and transmitted over a wireless channel with more than one antenna. Present standards, such as 802.11n and 4G, call for systems with more than the present two antennas. Additionally, the need for future considerations of mobility along with lowered current limits of smaller technology nodes, calls for greater power awareness in the design of MIMO decoders. The presence of multiple antennas brings with them a) an exponentially large space for a min-cost search for the solution and b) non-trivial VLSI requirements to deal with additional dimensions of the wireless channel. Additionally, the conditions under which a MIMO decoder is used would change in terms of the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) values. This requires considerations in the multiple axes for a decoder implementation: Power, Delay, throughput and algorithmic performance. Of the many options available, Sphere Decoding (SD) has become a popular implementation of MIMO detection due to its improved performance at lower hardware complexity in comparison with Maximum Likelihood methods for optimal algorithmic performance. ASIC implementations have proven the feasibility of this method but fail to effectively address the issue of energy efficiency (b/s/mW). In this work, we investigate the architectural and design space of multi-antenna decoders. We show that systems that allow for tradeoffs along multiple axes are more likely to achieve energy optimality due to a changing usage environment. Multi-antenna systems are unique because they can exploit parallelism which could aid in amortizing the constraints on design. We design and implement improved architectures that exploit a combination of a deeper pipelines and simple single-port read and write memories to increase the energy efficiency (bits/sec/mW) of the decoding process. We also implement architectural modifications that increase the throughput of algorithmically optimal decoders. We use these improvements to make an argument for increased power consumption with the final aim of improving the energy efficiency of decoding. Additionally, we also provide insights into the design of architectures that can handle an increased constellation size and increased antenna numbers in a power efficient manner. In an effort to improve the throughput, we also provide a simple method of a block based algorithm using counters. VLSI implementation of all the architectures proposed provides the final measure of complexity in terms of power, area and throughput. The implementation of the proposed architectures in a 1.2V 90nm 8-metal IBM process demonstrates the effectiveness of the various methods proposed in reducing complexity and increasing energy efficiency.
Date: 2009-02-23
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Computer Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3897


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