On Polymorphic Circuits and their Design using Evolutionary Algorithms

A. Stoica, R. Zebulum, D. Keymeulen, and J. Lohn (USA)


Evolvable Hardware, polytronics, FPTA, logic gates.


This paper introduces the concept of polymorphic electronics (polytronics) – referring to electronics with superimposed built-in functionality. A function change does not require switches/reconfiguration as in traditional approaches. Instead, the change comes from modifications in the characteristics of devices involved in the circuit, in response to controls such as temperature, power supply voltage (VDD), control signals, light, etc. The paper illustrates polytronic circuits in which the control is done by temperature, morphing signals, and VDD respectively. Polytronic circuits are obtained by evolutionary design /evolvable hardware techniques. These techniques are ideal for the polytronics design, a new area that lacks design guidelines/know-how,- yet the requirements/objectives are easy to specify and test. The circuits are evolved/synthesized in two different modes. The first mode explores an unstructured space, in which transistors can be interconnected freely in any arrangement (in simulations only). The second mode uses a Field Programmable Transistor Array (FPTA) model, and the circuit topology is sought as a mapping onto a programmable architecture (these experiments are performed both in simulations and on FPTA chips). The experiments demonstrated the synthesis of polytronic circuits by evolution. The capacity of storing/hiding “extra” functions provides for watermark/invisible functionality, thus polytronics may find uses in intelligence/security applications.

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