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We model a systolic array as a network of, mostly identical, communicating finite state machines that exchange messages over one-to-one, unbounded, FIFO channels. Each machine has a cyclic behavior; in each cycle, a machine first receives one message from each of its input channels, then sends one message to each of its output channels. If in a cycle a machine does not have any data message to send to one of its output channels, it sends a null message instead; thus, machines exchange two types of messages, data and null. We characterize the liveness and termination properties for such networks, and discuss two algorithms that can be used to decide these properties for any given network. We apply these algorithms to establish the liveness and termination properties of four systolic array examples. These examples include a linear matrix-vector multiplier, a linear priority queue, and a search tree.
Date of Publication: Oct. 1985