School of Computer Science Intranet
S B Furber
Self-timed packet-switched networks are poised to take a major role in addressing the complex system design and timing closure problems of future complex Systems-on-Chip. The robust, correct-by-construction characteristics of self-timed communications enables each IP block on the SoC to operate in its own isolated timing domain, greatly simplifying the problems of timing verification. Design automation software can remove the need for expertise in self-timed design, enabling the on-chip interconnect to be treated as an additional IP block within a conventional (synchronous) design flow. The paradigm shift from viewing the SoC design problem as a matter of organizing complex hierarchies of buses with multiple coupled timing domains, where every interface between timing domains must be verified carefully, to viewing the SoC as a problem in network design where those timing issues are automatically isolated, promises significant improvements in designer productivity, component reuse and SoC functionality.