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Title: Elastic bundles : modelling and architecting asynchronous circuits with granular rigidity
Author: Fernandes, Johnson
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 7903
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2017
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Integrated Circuit (IC) designs these days are predominantly System-on-Chips (SoCs). The complexity of designing a SoC has increased rapidly over the years due to growing process and environmental variations coupled with global clock distribution di culty. Moreover, traditional synchronous design is not apt to handle the heterogeneous timing nature of modern SoCs. As a countermeasure, the semiconductor industry witnessed a strong revival of asynchronous design principles. A new paradigm of digital circuits emerged, as a result, namely mixed synchronous-asynchronous circuits. With a wave of recent innovations in synchronous-asynchronous CAD integration, this paradigm is showing signs of commercial adoption in future SoCs mainly due to the scope for reuse of synchronous functional blocks and IP cores, and the co-existence of synchronous and asynchronous design styles in a common EDA framework. However, there is a lack of formal methods and tools to facilitate mixed synchronousasynchronous design. In this thesis, we propose a formal model based on Petri nets with step semantics to describe these circuits behaviourally. Implication of this model in the veri cation and synthesis of mixed synchronous-asynchronous circuits is studied. Till date, this paradigm has been mainly explored on the basis of Globally Asynchronous Locally Synchronous (GALS) systems. Despite decades of research, GALS design has failed to gain traction commercially. To understand its drawbacks, a simulation framework characterising the physical and functional aspects of GALS SoCs is presented. A novel method for synthesising mixed synchronous-asynchronous circuits with varying levels of rigidity is proposed. Starting with a high-level data ow model of a system which is intrinsically asynchronous, the key idea is to introduce rigidity of chosen granularity levels in the model without changing functional behaviour. The system is then partitioned into functional blocks of synchronous and asynchronous elements before being transformed into an equivalent circuit which can be synthesised using standard EDA tools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available