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High-Level Synthesis and Rapid Prototyping of Asynchronous VLSI Systems


Wong, Catherine Grace (2004) High-Level Synthesis and Rapid Prototyping of Asynchronous VLSI Systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/5N2N-0W58.


This thesis introduces data-driven decomposition (DDD), a new method for the high-level synthesis of asynchronous VLSI systems and the first method to target high-performance asynchronous circuits. Given a sequential description of circuit behavior, DDD produces an equivalent network of communicating processes that can each be directly implemented as fine-grained asynchronous pipeline stages. Control and datapath are integrated within each pipeline stage of the final system.

We present many aspects of the synthesis of asynchronous VLSI systems, including general circuit templates that DDD uses to estimate low-level performance and energy metrics while optimizing the concurrent system. We also introduce a new circuit model and new techniques for slack matching, a performance optimization that inserts pipelining into a system to modify asynchronous handshake dynamics and increase throughput. The entire method is then applied to a complex control unit from an asynchronous 8051 microcontroller, as an example.

This thesis also introduces a new architecture for an asynchronous field-programmable gate array (FPGA). The architecture is cluster-based and, unlike most FPGA designs, contains an entirely delay-insensitive interconnect. The basic reconfigurable cells of this FPGA fit the asynchronous pipeline-stage circuit-template used by DDD, and the reconfigurable clusters include circuitry that implements features assumed by an optimization phase of DDD, which reduces the energy consumption of the system.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Minor Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Martin, Alain J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Martin, Alain J. (chair)
  • DeHon, Andre
  • Chandy, K. Mani
  • Hickey, Jason J.
Defense Date:21 May 2004
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:11192009-161338958
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5393
Deposited By: Kathy Johnson
Deposited On:01 Dec 2009 17:48
Last Modified:04 Feb 2021 02:38

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