A Domain-Specific Processor Microarchitecture for Energy-Efficient, Dynamic IoT Communication

Shahzad Muzaffar, Ibrahim M. Elfadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present a domain-specific processor architecture, named pulsed-index communication interface architecture (PICIA), for single-channel IoT communication based on the recently introduced pulsed-signaling protocols, according to which information is encoded as series of pulses representing ON bits. In addition to the traditional aspects of instruction set architecture (ISA) design such as addressing modes, instruction types, instruction formats, registers, interrupts, and external I/O, the ISA includes domain-specific instructions that facilitate bit stream encoding and decoding based on the pulsed-signaling techniques. The domain-specific PICIA microarchitecture employs a set of optimized processing blocks that can be used programmatically to encode and decode the transmitted data in the most economical way. The PICIA allows customizations that support both standard pulsed-signaling techniques and specialized protocols that belong to the same family. The PICIA design further allows an amalgamation of software and hardware that significantly reduces the number of instructions required to implement a given communication interface without impacting the data rates and reliability of the pulsed-signaling protocols. The PICIA processor has been implemented in Verilog HDL and tested using a Xilinx Spartan-6 field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Furthermore, a 65-nm application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) synthesis of the design confirms the small-footprint and low-power features of PICIA. The consumed power has been evaluated at 31.14 μW with an energy efficiency of less than 10 pJ/bit.

Original languageBritish English
Article number8710005
Pages (from-to)2074-2087
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Domain-specific architecture (DSA)
  • edge-coded signaling
  • instruction set architecture (ISA)
  • Internet of Things
  • low-power communication
  • microarchitecture
  • single channel


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