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Asynchronous Embedded Control

S.B. Furber, J.D. Garside, S. Temple, P. Day and N.C. Paver


Asynchronous control offers potential advantages for embedded systems due to its inherent power-efficiency, electromagnetic compatibility and modularity. However, the current design community is averse to asynchronous design because it is perceived as being hard to design and manufacture.

Recent developments in asynchronous design have begun to address these misconceptions and commercial interest is beginning to grow, but there are still few large-scale demonstrations of the practical application of asynchronous techniques to commercially interesting designs. This paper describes one such demonstrator. AMULET2e is an embedded system chip which incorporates a 32-bit RISC microprocessor, a cache memory and a flexible memory interface, all of which operate asynchronously.

This paper presents the motivation for asynchronous design, details of the AMULET2e organisation, the tools used to develop the design and the characteristics of the chip itself.