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CADRE: an Asynchronous Embedded DSP for Mobile Phone Applications
Design Automation for Embedded Systems

M. Lewis and L. Brackenbury


Asynchronous design techniques have a number of compelling features that make them suited for complex system on chip designs. However, it is necessary to develop practical and efficient design techniques to overcome the present shortage of commercial design tools. This paper describes the development of CADRE (Configurable Asynchronous DSP for Reduced Energy), a 750K transistor, high performance, low-power digital signal processor IP block intended for digital mobile phone chipsets. A short time period was available for the project, and so a methodology was developed that allowed high-level simulation of the design at the earliest possible stage within the conventional schematic entry environment and simulation tools used for later circuit-level performance and power consumption assessment. Initial modeling was based on C behavioral models of the various data and control components, with the many asynchronous control circuits required automatically generated from their specifications. This has enabled design options to be explored and unusual features of the design, such as the Register Bank which is designed to exploit data access patterns, are presented along with the power and performance results of the processor as a whole.