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Balsa: An Asynchronous Circuit Synthesis System

Andrew Bardsley


The Balsa system for asynchronous circuit synthesis is described. Balsa is a CSP-like language based on the Tangram VLSI programming language developed by Philips Electronics NV. and Eindhoven University of Technology. The Tangram language can be transparently compiled into an intermediate representation (between the language and gate level implementations) called handshake circuits.

This thesis describes those additional features that Balsa exhibits above Tangram, the Breeze intermediate file format for handshake circuits, the balsa-c compiler (from Balsa to Breeze), a simulation environment for Balsa and also suggests a framework for a `back-end' compiler to transform Breeze into standard cell logic.

In particular the support for separate compilation and the use of a flexible communication enclosed input choice mechanism are claimed as useful additions to the expressiveness of Tangram. New handshake components (which are the constituent parts of handshake circuits) are proposed which are used to implement this choice mechanism as well as more generalised forms of the existing Tangram system components.

The thesis is available in PDF by ftp (492KB).