Area-time-power tradeoffs in parallel adders

Chctana Nagendra, Mary Jane Irwin, Robert Michael Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


In this paper, several classes of parallel, synchronous adders are surveyed based on their power, delay and area characteristics. The adders studied include the linear time ripple carry and manchester carry chain adders, the square-root time carry skip and carry select adders, the logarithmic time carry lookahead adder and its variations, and the constant time signeddigit and carry-save adders. Most of the research in the last few decades has concentrated on reducing the delay of addition. With the rising popularity of portable computers, however, the emphasis is on both high speed and low power operation. In this paper we adopt a uniform static CMOS layout methodology whereby short circuit power minimization is used as the optimization criterion. The relative merits of the different adders are evaluated by performing a detailed transistor-level simulation of the adders using HSPICE. Among the two's complement adders, a variation of the carry lookahead adder, called ELM, was found to have the best power-delay product. Based on the results of our experiments, a large adder design space is formulated from which an architect can choose an adder with the desired characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-702
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II: Analog and Digital Signal Processing
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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