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Register Locking in an Asynchronous Microprocessor

N.C. Paver, P. Day, S.B. Furber, J.D. Garside, J.V. Woods


A high performance register bank is a central component of a RISC processor. A novel register bank design has been developed, as an integral part of a self-timed implementation of a commercial RISC microprocessor, to address the problem of register interlocking in an asynchronous micropipelined execution unit.

The challenge in an asynchronous design is to maintain coherent register operation while allowing concurrent read and write accesses with arbitrary timing. The solution presented here includes a novel arbiter-free locking mechanism which enables efficient read operations in the presence of multiple pending write operations.

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