Asynchronous design offers significant benefits
for portable electronics, yet it is risky in the hands of
inexperienced designers, and there are few experienced designers.
Fortunately, asynchronous systems are extremely well suited
to high-level functional descriptions in languages such as
Tanner Labs is developing a comprehensive automated asynchronous
circuit design flow that takes the engineer from the high-level
circuit description, through simulation and verification,
to layout design that is ready for fabrication. We are implementing
an innovative methodology developed by Dr.
A. J. Martin (1990) that has been successfully demonstrated
to yield high-speed devices as well as fully static circuits
that operate robustly with power supply voltages less than
1 V. Such power supply flexibility permits a wide tradeoff
of operating speed versus power consumption in the field.
Our asynchronous design tools will implement new synthesis
techniques for datapath-based designs, and they will allow
the design engineer to optimize the design with respect to
speed, power, and architecture. In
the future, we plan to provide limited built-in test support
using boundary-scan and full-scan techniques.
Our asynchronous CAD tool development has been supported
by the U.S. Air Force and ARPA as part of the SBIR