Clockless, Pipelines, Self-Resetting logic, Asynchrnous, Synthesis, Heuristic


For decades, digital design has been primarily dominated by clocked circuits. With larger scales of integration made possible by improved semiconductor manufacturing techniques, relying on a clock signal to orchestrate logic operations across an entire chip became increasingly difficult. Motivated by this problem, designers are currently considering circuits which can operate without a clock. However, the wide acceptance of these circuits by the digital design community requires two ingredients: (i) a unified design methodology supported by widely available CAD tools, and (ii) a granularity of design techniques suitable for synthesizing large designs. Currently, there is no unified established design methodology to support the design and verification of these circuits. Moreover, the majority of clockless design techniques is conceived at circuit level, and is subsequently so fine-grain, that their application to large designs can have unacceptable area costs. Given these considerations, this dissertation presents a new clockless technique, called self-resetting stage logic (SRSL), in which the computation of a block is reset periodically from within the block itself. SRSL is used as a building block for three coarse-grain pipelining techniques: (i) Stage-controlled self-resetting stage logic (S-SRSL) Pipelines: In these pipelines, the control of the communication between stages is performed locally between each pair of stages. This communication is performed in a uni-directional manner in order to simplify its implementation. (ii) Pipeline-controlled self-resetting stage logic (P-SRSL) Pipelines: In these pipelines, the communication between each pair of stages in the pipeline is driven by the oscillation of the last pipeline stage. Their communication scheme is identical to the one used in S-SRSL pipelines. (iii) Delay-tolerant self-resetting stage logic (D-SRSL) Pipelines: While communication in these pipelines is local in nature in a manner similar to the one used in S-SRL pipelines, this communication is nevertheless extended in both directions. The result of this bi-directional approach is an increase in the capability of the pipeline to handle stages with random delay. Based on these pipelining techniques, a new design methodology is proposed to synthesize clockless designs. The synthesis problem consists of synthesizing an SRSL pipeline from a gate netlist with a minimum area overhead given a specified data rate. A two-phase heuristic algorithm is proposed to solve this problem. The goal of the algorithm is to pipeline a given datapath by minimizing the area occupied by inter-stage latches without violating any timing constraints. Experiments with this synthesis algorithm show that while P-SRSL pipelines can reach high throughputs in shallow pipelines, D-SRSL pipelines can achieve comparable throughputs in deeper pipelines.


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Graduation Date





Ejnioui, Abdel


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Program

Computer Engineering








Release Date

January 2006

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)