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Title: Exploiting robustness in asynchronous circuits to design fine-tunable systems
Author: Benafa, Oyinkuro Ikechukwu
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 4698
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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Robustness property in a circuit defines its tolerance to the effects of process, voltage and temperature variations. The mode signaling and event communication between computing units in a asynchronous circuits makes them inherently robust. The level of robustness depends on the type of delay assumptions used in the design and specification process. In this thesis, two approaches to exploiting robustness in asynchronous circuits to design self-adapting and fine-tunable systems are investigated. In the first investigation, a Digitally Controllable Oscillator (DCO) and a computing unit are integrated such that the operating conditions of the computing unit modulated the operation of the DCO. In this investigation, the computing unit which is a self-timed counter interacts with the DCO in a four-phase handshake protocol. This mode of interaction ensures a DCO and computing unit system that can fine-tune its operation to adapt to the effects of variations. In this investigation, it is shown that such a system will operate correctly in wide range of voltage supply. In the second investigation, a Digital Pulse-Width Modulator (DPWM) with coarse and fine-tune controls is designed using two Kessels counters. The coarse control of the DPWM tuned the pulse ratio and pulse frequency while the fine-tune control exploited the robustness property of asynchronous circuits in an addition-based delay system to add or subtract delay(s) to the pulse width while maintaining a constant pulse frequency. The DPWM realized gave constant duty ratio regardless of the operating voltage. This type of DPWM has practical application in a DC-DC converter circuit to tune the output voltage of the converter in high resolution. The Kessels counter is a loadable self-timed modulo−n counter, which is realized by decomposition using Horner's method, specified and verified using formal asynchronous design techniques. The decomposition method used introduced parallelism in the system by dividing the counter into a systolic array of cells, with each cell further decomposed into two parts that have distinct defined operations. Specification of the decomposed counter cell parts operation was in three stages. The first stage employed high-level specification using Labelled Petri nets (LPN). In this form, functional correctness of the decomposed counter is modelled and verified. In the second stage, a cell part is specified by combing all possible operations for that cell part in high-level form. With this approach, a combination of inputs from a defined control block activated the correct operation for a cell part. In the final stage, the LPNs were converted to Signal Transition Graphs, from which the logic circuits of the cells were synthesized using the WorkCraft Tool. In this thesis, the Kessels counter was implemented and fabricated in 350 nm CMOS Technology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available