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Attacking Control Overhead to Improve Synthesised Asynchronous Circuit Performance

L.A. Plana, S. Taylor and D. Edwards


The development of robust synthesis techniques and tools is important if asynchronous design is to gain more widespread acceptance. Handshake circuits are a method of constructing asynchronous circuits from a set of modular components connected by handshake channels. They offer a level of abstraction above a particular target technology or implementation style. The Balsa system employs the handshake circuit approach and has demonstrated that it can be used to rapidly generate large, robust circuits. This speed and flexibility is currently achieved at the cost of performance. This paper examines the problem of control overhead in handshake circuits and proposes new handshake component specifications and implementations that significantly reduce this overhead. These changes are incorporated into the Balsa synthesis system and are shown to produce a doubling of the performance of a 32-bit processor without making any changes to the original description.

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