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CAD directions for high performance asynchronous circuits

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7 Author(s)
Stevens, K. ; Strategic CAD Labs., Intel Corp., Hillsboro, OR, USA ; Rotem, S. ; Burns, S.M. ; Cortadella, J.
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This paper describes a novel methodology for high performance asynchronous design based on timed circuits and on CAD support for their synthesis using relative timing. This methodology was developed for a prototype iA32 instruction length decoding and steering unit called RAPPID (“revolving asynchronous Pentium processor instruction decoder”) that was fabricated and tested successfully. Silicon results show significant advantages-in particular, performance of 2.5-4.5 instructions per nS-with manageable risks using this design technology. RAPPID achieves three times faster performance and half the latency dissipating only half the power and requiring a minor area penalty as a comparable 400 MHz clocked circuit. Relative timing is based on user-defined and automatically extracted relative timing assumptions between signal transitions in a circuit and its environment. It supports the specification, synthesis, and verification of high-performance asynchronous circuits, such as pulse-mode circuits, that can be derived from an initial speed-independent specification. Relative Timing presents a “middle-ground” between clocked and asynchronous circuits, and is a fertile area for CAD development. We discuss possible directions for future CAD development

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Design Automation Conference, 1999. Proceedings. 36th

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