Asynchronous circuit

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An asynchronous circuit, or self-timed circuit, is a sequential digital logic circuit which is not governed by a clock circuit or global clock signal. Instead it often uses signals that indicate completion of instructions and operations, specified by simple data transfer protocols. This type of circuit is contrasted with synchronous circuits, in which changes to the signal values in the circuit are triggered by repetitive pulses called a clock signal. Most digital devices today use synchronous circuits. However asynchronous circuits have the potential to be faster, and may also have advantages in lower power consumption, lower electromagnetic interference, and better modularity in large systems. Asynchronous circuits are an active area of research in digital logic design. [1] [2]

In digital circuit theory, sequential logic is a type of logic circuit whose output depends not only on the present value of its input signals but on the sequence of past inputs, the input history as well. This is in contrast to combinational logic, whose output is a function of only the present input. That is, sequential logic has state (memory) while combinational logic does not.

An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical components or a model of such an interconnection, consisting of electrical elements. An electrical circuit is a network consisting of a closed loop, giving a return path for the current. Linear electrical networks, a special type consisting only of sources, linear lumped elements, and linear distributed elements, have the property that signals are linearly superimposable. They are thus more easily analyzed, using powerful frequency domain methods such as Laplace transforms, to determine DC response, AC response, and transient response.

In electronics and especially synchronous digital circuits, a clock signal is a particular type of signal that oscillates between a high and a low state and is used like a metronome to coordinate actions of digital circuits.

Synchronous vs asynchronous logic

Digital logic circuits can be divided into combinational logic, in which the output signals depend only on the current input signals, and sequential logic, in which the output depends both on current input and on past inputs. In other words, sequential logic is combinational logic with memory. Virtually all practical digital devices require sequential logic. Sequential logic can be divided into two types, synchronous logic and asynchronous logic.

In digital circuit theory, combinational logic is a type of digital logic which is implemented by Boolean circuits, where the output is a pure function of the present input only. This is in contrast to sequential logic, in which the output depends not only on the present input but also on the history of the input. In other words, sequential logic has memory while combinational logic does not.

In computing, memory refers to the computer hardware integrated circuits that store information for immediate use in a computer; it is synonymous with the term "primary storage". Computer memory operates at a high speed, for example random-access memory (RAM), as a distinction from storage that provides slow-to-access information but offers higher capacities. If needed, contents of the computer memory can be transferred to secondary storage; a very common way of doing this is through a memory management technique called "virtual memory". An archaic synonym for memory is store.

• In synchronous logic circuits, an electronic oscillator generates a repetitive series of equally spaced pulses called the clock signal . The clock signal is applied to all the memory elements in the circuit, called flip-flops. The output of the flip-flops only changes when triggered by the edge of the clock pulse, so changes to the logic signals throughout the circuit all begin at the same time, at regular intervals synchronized by the clock. The output of all memory elements in a circuit is called the state of the circuit. The state of a synchronous circuit changes only on the clock pulse. The changes in signal require a certain amount of time to propagate through the combinational logic gates of the circuit. This is called propagation delay. The period of the clock signal is made long enough so the output of all the logic gates have time to settle to stable values before the next clock pulse. As long as this condition is met, synchronous circuits will operate stably, so they are easy to design.

An electronic oscillator is an electronic circuit that produces a periodic, oscillating electronic signal, often a sine wave or a square wave. Oscillators convert direct current (DC) from a power supply to an alternating current (AC) signal. They are widely used in many electronic devices ranging from simplest clock generators to digital instruments and complex computers and peripherals etc. Common examples of signals generated by oscillators include signals broadcast by radio and television transmitters, clock signals that regulate computers and quartz clocks, and the sounds produced by electronic beepers and video games.

In electronics, a flip-flop or latch is a circuit that has two stable states and can be used to store state information – a bistable multivibrator. The circuit can be made to change state by signals applied to one or more control inputs and will have one or two outputs. It is the basic storage element in sequential logic. Flip-flops and latches are fundamental building blocks of digital electronics systems used in computers, communications, and many other types of systems.

In electronics, a signal edge is a transition of a digital signal from low to high or from high to low :

However a disadvantage of synchronous circuits is that they can be slow. The maximum possible clock rate is determined by the logic path with the longest propagation delay, called the critical path. So logic paths that complete their operations quickly are idle most of the time. Another problem is that the widely distributed clock signal takes a lot of power, and must run whether the circuit is receiving inputs or not.
• In asynchronous circuits, there is no clock signal, and the state of the circuit changes as soon as the inputs change. Since asynchronous circuits don't have to wait for a clock pulse to begin processing inputs, they can be faster than synchronous circuits, and their speed is theoretically limited only by the propagation delays of the logic gates. However, asynchronous circuits are more difficult to design and subject to problems not found in synchronous circuits. This is because the resulting state of an asynchronous circuit can be sensitive to the relative arrival times of inputs at gates. If transitions on two inputs arrive at almost the same time, the circuit can go into the wrong state depending on slight differences in the propagation delays of the gates. This is called a race condition. In synchronous circuits this problem is less severe because race conditions can only occur due to inputs from outside the synchronous system, called asynchronous inputs. Although some fully asynchronous digital systems have been built (see below), today asynchronous circuits are typically used in a few critical parts of otherwise synchronous systems where speed is at a premium, such as signal processing circuits.

Propagation delay is the length of time taken for the quantity of interest to reach its destination. It can relate to networking, electronics or physics.

A race condition or race hazard is the condition of an electronics, software, or other system where the system's substantive behavior is dependent on the sequence or timing of other uncontrollable events. It becomes a bug when one or more of the possible behaviors is undesirable.

Theoretical foundation

The term asynchronous logic is used to describe a variety of design styles, which use different assumptions about circuit properties. [3] These vary from the bundled delay model – which uses "conventional" data processing elements with completion indicated by a locally generated delay model – to delay-insensitive design – where arbitrary delays through circuit elements can be accommodated. The latter style tends to yield circuits which are larger than bundled data implementations, but which are insensitive to layout and parametric variations and are thus "correct by design".

Asynchronous logic is the logic required for the design of asynchronous digital systems. These function without a clock signal and so individual logic elements cannot be relied upon to have a discrete true/false state at any given time. Boolean (two valued) logic is inadequate for this and so extensions are required. Karl Fant developed a theoretical treatment of this in his work Logically determined design in 2005 which used four-valued logic with null and intermediate being the additional values. This architecture is important because it is quasi-delay-insensitive. [4] Scott Smith and Jia Di developed an ultra-low-power variation of Fant's Null Convention Logic that incorporates multi-threshold CMOS. [5] This variation is termed Multi-threshold Null Convention Logic (MTNCL), or alternatively Sleep Convention Logic (SCL). [6] Vadim Vasyukevich developed a different approach based upon a new logical operation which he called venjunction. This takes into account not only the current value of an element, but also its history. [7]

Logic is the systematic study of the form of valid inference, and the most general laws of truth. A valid inference is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the inference and its conclusion. In ordinary discourse, inferences may be signified by words such as therefore, thus, hence, ergo, and so on.

Nullable types are a feature of some programming languages which allow the value to be set to the special value NULL instead of the usual possible values of the data type. In statically-typed languages, a nullable type is an option type, while in dynamically-typed languages, equivalent behavior is provided by having a single null value.

Multi-threshold CMOS (MTCMOS) is a variation of CMOS chip technology which has transistors with multiple threshold voltages (Vth) in order to optimize delay or power. The Vth of a MOSFET is the gate voltage where an inversion layer forms at the interface between the insulating layer (oxide) and the substrate (body) of the transistor. Low Vth devices switch faster, and are therefore useful on critical delay paths to minimize clock periods. The penalty is that low Vth devices have substantially higher static leakage power. High Vth devices are used on non-critical paths to reduce static leakage power without incurring a delay penalty. Typical high Vth devices reduce static leakage by 10 times compared with low Vth devices.

Petri nets are an attractive and powerful model for reasoning about asynchronous circuits. However, Petri nets have been criticized for their lack of physical realism (see Petri net: Subsequent models of concurrency). Subsequent to Petri nets other models of concurrency have been developed that can model asynchronous circuits including the Actor model and process calculi.

Benefits

A variety of advantages have been demonstrated by asynchronous circuits, including both quasi-delay-insensitive (QDI) circuits (generally agreed to be the most "pure" form of asynchronous logic that retains computational universality) and less pure forms of asynchronous circuitry which use timing constraints for higher performance and lower area and power:

• Robust handling of metastability of arbiters.
• Higher performance function units, which provide average-case (i.e. data-dependent) completion rather than worst-case completion. Examples include speculative completion [8] [9] which has been applied to design parallel prefix adders faster than synchronous ones, and a high-performance double-precision floating point adder' [10] which outperforms leading synchronous designs.
• Early completion of a circuit when it is known that the inputs which have not yet arrived are irrelevant.
• Lower power consumption because no transistor ever transitions unless it is performing useful computation. Epson has reported 70% lower power consumption compared to synchronous design. [11] Also, clock drivers can be removed which can significantly reduce power consumption. However, when using certain encodings, asynchronous circuits may require more area, which can result in increased power consumption if the underlying process has poor leakage properties (for example, deep submicrometer processes used prior to the introduction of High-k dielectrics).
• "Elastic" pipelines, which achieve high performance while gracefully handling variable input and output rates and mismatched pipeline stage delays. [12]
• Freedom from the ever-worsening difficulties of distributing a high-fan-out, timing-sensitive clock signal.
• Better modularity and composability.
• Far fewer assumptions about the manufacturing process are required (most assumptions are timing assumptions).
• Circuit speed adapts to changing temperature and voltage conditions rather than being locked at the speed mandated by worst-case assumptions.
• Immunity to transistor-to-transistor variability in the manufacturing process, which is one of the most serious problems facing the semiconductor industry as dies shrink.
• Less severe electromagnetic interference (EMI). Synchronous circuits create a great deal of EMI in the frequency band at (or very near) their clock frequency and its harmonics; asynchronous circuits generate EMI patterns which are much more evenly spread across the spectrum.
• In asynchronous circuits, local signaling eliminates the need for global synchronization which exploits some potential advantages in comparison with synchronous ones. They have shown potential specifications in low power consumption, design reuse, improved noise immunity and electromagnetic compatibility. Asynchronous circuits are more tolerant to process variations and external voltage fluctuations.
• Less stress on the power distribution network. Synchronous circuits tend to draw a large amount of current right at the clock edge and shortly thereafter. The number of nodes switching (and thence, amount of current drawn) drops off rapidly after the clock edge, reaching zero just before the next clock edge. In an asynchronous circuit, the switching times of the nodes are not correlated in this manner, so the current draw tends to be more uniform and less bursty.

• Area overhead caused by an increase in the number of circuit elements (transistors). In some cases an asynchronous design may require up to double the resources of a synchronous design, due to addition of completion detection and design-for-test circuits. [13]
• Fewer people are trained in this style compared to synchronous design. [13]
• Synchronous designs are inherently easier to test and debug than asynchronous designs. [14] However, this position is disputed by Fant, who claims that the apparent simplicity of synchronous logic is an artifact of the mathematical models used by the common design approaches. [15]
• Clock gating in more conventional synchronous designs is an approximation of the asynchronous ideal, and in some cases, its simplicity may outweigh the advantages of a fully asynchronous design.
• Performance (speed) of asynchronous circuits may be reduced in architectures that require input-completeness (more complex data path). [16]
• Lack of dedicated, asynchronous design-focused commercial EDA tools. [16]

Communication

There are several ways to create asynchronous communication channels that can be classified by their protocol and data encoding.

Protocols

There are two widely used protocol families which differ in the way communications are encoded:

• two-phase handshake (a.k.a. two-phase protocol, Non-Return-to-Zero (NRZ) encoding, or transition signalling): Communications are represented by any wire transition; transitions from 0 to 1 and from 1 to 0 both count as communications.
• four-phase handshake (a.k.a. four-phase protocol, or Return-to-Zero (RZ) encoding): Communications are represented by a wire transition followed by a reset; a transition sequence from 0 to 1 and back to 0 counts as single communication.

Despite involving more transitions per communication, circuits implementing four-phase protocols are usually faster and simpler than two-phase protocols because the signal lines return to their original state by the end of each communication. In two-phase protocols, the circuit implementations would have to store the state of the signal line internally.

Note that these basic distinctions do not account for the wide variety of protocols. These protocols may encode only requests and acknowledgements or also encode the data, which leads to the popular multi-wire data encoding. Many other, less common protocols have been proposed including using a single wire for request and acknowledgment, using several significant voltages, using only pulses or balancing timings in order to remove the latches.

Data encoding

There are two widely used data encodings in asynchronous circuits: bundled-data encoding and multi-rail encoding

Another common way to encode the data is to use multiple wires to encode a single digit: the value is determined by the wire on which the event occurs. This avoids some of the delay assumptions necessary with bundled-data encoding, since the request and the data are not separated anymore.

Bundled-data encoding

Bundled-data encoding uses one wire per bit of data with a request and an acknowledge signal; this is the same encoding used in synchronous circuits without the restriction that transitions occur on with a clock edge. The request and the acknowledge are sent on separate wires with one of the above protocols. These circuits usually assume a bounded delay model with the completion signals delayed long enough for the calculations to take place.

In operation, the sender signals the availability and validity of data with a request. The receiver then indicates completion with an acknowledgement, indicating that it is able to process new requests. That is, the request is bundled with the data, hence the name "bundled-data".

Bundled-data circuits are often referred to as micropipelines, whether they use a two-phase or four-phase protocol, even if the term was initially introduced for two-phase bundled-data.

Multi-rail encoding

Multi-rail encoding uses multiple wires without a one-to-one relationship between bits and wires and a separate acknowledge signal. Data availability is indicated by the transitions themselves on one or more of the data wires (depending on the type of multi-rail encoding) instead of with a request signal as in the bundled-data encoding. This provides the advantage that the data communication is delay-insensitive. Two common multi-rail encodings are one-hot and dual rail. The one-hot (a.k.a. 1-of-n) encoding represents a number in base n with a communication on one of the n wires. The dual-rail encoding uses pairs of wires to represent each bit of the data, hence the name "dual-rail"; one wire in the pair represents the bit value of 0 and the other represents the bit value of 1. For example, a dual-rail encoded two bit number will be represented with two pairs of wires for four wires in total. During a data communication, communications occur on one of each pair of wires to indicate the data's bits. In the general case, an m ${\displaystyle \times }$ n encoding represent data as m words of base n.

Dual-rail encoding with a four-phase protocol is the most common and is also called three-state encoding, since it has two valid states (10 and 01, after a transition) and a reset state (00). Another common encoding, which leads to a simpler implementation than one-hot, two-phase dual-rail is four-state encoding, or level-encoded dual-rail, and uses a data bit and a parity bit to achieve a two-phase protocol.

Asynchronous CPU

Asynchronous CPUs are one of several ideas for radically changing CPU design.

Unlike a conventional processor, a clockless processor (asynchronous CPU) has no central clock to coordinate the progress of data through the pipeline. Instead, stages of the CPU are coordinated using logic devices called "pipeline controls" or "FIFO sequencers." Basically, the pipeline controller clocks the next stage of logic when the existing stage is complete. In this way, a central clock is unnecessary. It may actually be even easier to implement high performance devices in asynchronous, as opposed to clocked, logic:

• components can run at different speeds on an asynchronous CPU; all major components of a clocked CPU must remain synchronized with the central clock;
• a traditional CPU cannot "go faster" than the expected worst-case performance of the slowest stage/instruction/component. When an asynchronous CPU completes an operation more quickly than anticipated, the next stage can immediately begin processing the results, rather than waiting for synchronization with a central clock. An operation might finish faster than normal because of attributes of the data being processed (e.g., multiplication can be very fast when multiplying by 0 or 1, even when running code produced by a naive compiler), or because of the presence of a higher voltage or bus speed setting, or a lower ambient temperature, than 'normal' or expected.

Asynchronous logic proponents believe these capabilities would have these benefits:

• lower power dissipation for a given performance level, and
• highest possible execution speeds.

The biggest disadvantage of the clockless CPU is that most CPU design tools assume a clocked CPU (i.e., a synchronous circuit). Many tools "enforce synchronous design practices". [17] Making a clockless CPU (designing an asynchronous circuit) involves modifying the design tools to handle clockless logic and doing extra testing to ensure the design avoids metastable problems. The group that designed the AMULET, for example, developed a tool called LARD [18] to cope with the complex design of AMULET3.

Despite the difficulty of doing so, numerous asynchronous CPUs have been built, including:

• the ORDVAC and the (identical) ILLIAC I (1951) [19] [20]
• the Johnniac (1953) [21]
• the WEIZAC (1955)
• the ILLIAC II (1962) [19]
• The Victoria University of Manchester built Atlas (1964)
• The ICL 1906A and 1906S mainframe computers, part of the 1900 series and sold from 1964 for over a decade by ICL [22]
• The Honeywell CPUs 6180 (1972) [23] and Series 60 Level 68 (1981) [24] [25] upon which Multics ran asynchronously
• Soviet bit-slice microprocessor modules (late 1970s) [26] [27] produced as К587, [28] К588 [29] and К1883 (U83x in East Germany) [30]
• The Caltech Asynchronous Microprocessor, the world-first asynchronous microprocessor (1988);
• the ARM-implementing AMULET (1993 and 2000);
• the asynchronous implementation of MIPS R3000, dubbed MiniMIPS (1998);
• several versions of the XAP processor experimented with different asynchronous design styles: a bundled data XAP, a 1-of-4 XAP, and a 1-of-2 (dual-rail) XAP (2003?); [31]
• an ARM-compatible processor (2003?) designed by Z. C. Yu, S. B. Furber, and L. A. Plana; "designed specifically to explore the benefits of asynchronous design for security sensitive applications"; [31]
• the "Network-based Asynchronous Architecture" processor (2005) that executes a subset of the MIPS architecture instruction set; [31]
• the ARM996HS processor (2006) from Handshake Solutions
• the HT80C51 processor (2007?) from Handshake Solutions [32]
• the SEAforth multi-core processor (2008) from Charles H. Moore. [33]
• the GA144 [34] multi-core processor (2010) from Charles H. Moore.
• TAM16: 16-bit asynchronous microcontroller IP core (Tiempo) [35]

The ILLIAC II was the first completely asynchronous, speed independent processor design ever built; it was the most powerful computer at the time. [19]

DEC PDP-16 Register Transfer Modules (ca. 1973) allowed the experimenter to construct asynchronous, 16-bit processing elements. Delays for each module were fixed and based on the module's worst-case timing.

The Caltech Asynchronous Microprocessor (1988) was the first asynchronous microprocessor (1988). Caltech designed and manufactured the world's first fully Quasi Delay Insensitive processor.[ citation needed ] During demonstrations, the researchers loaded a simple program which ran in a tight loop, pulsing one of the output lines after each instruction. This output line was connected to an oscilloscope. When a cup of hot coffee was placed on the chip, the pulse rate (the effective "clock rate") naturally slowed down to adapt to the worsening performance of the heated transistors. When liquid nitrogen was poured on the chip, the instruction rate shot up with no additional intervention. Additionally, at lower temperatures, the voltage supplied to the chip could be safely increased, which also improved the instruction rate – again, with no additional configuration.

In 2004, Epson manufactured the world's first bendable microprocessor called ACT11, an 8-bit asynchronous chip. [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] Synchronous flexible processors are slower, since bending the material on which a chip is fabricated causes wild and unpredictable variations in the delays of various transistors, for which worst-case scenarios must be assumed everywhere and everything must be clocked at worst-case speed. The processor is intended for use in smart cards, whose chips are currently limited in size to those small enough that they can remain perfectly rigid.

In 2014, IBM announced a SyNAPSE-developed chip that runs in an asynchronous manner, with one of the highest transistor counts of any chip ever produced. IBM's chip consumes orders of magnitude less power than traditional computing systems on pattern recognition benchmarks. [41]

Related Research Articles

A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor or main processor, is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logic, controlling, and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. The computer industry has used the term "central processing unit" at least since the early 1960s. Traditionally, the term "CPU" refers to a processor, more specifically to its processing unit and control unit (CU), distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry.

Processor design is the design engineering task of creating a processor, a key component of computer hardware. It is a subfield of computer engineering and electronics engineering (fabrication). The design process involves choosing an instruction set and a certain execution paradigm and results in a microarchitecture, which might be described in e.g. VHDL or Verilog. For microprocessor design, this description is then manufactured employing some of the various semiconductor device fabrication processes, resulting in a die which is bonded onto a chip carrier. This chip carrier is then soldered onto, or inserted into a socket on, a printed circuit board (PCB).

In digital logic and computing, a counter is a device which stores the number of times a particular event or process has occurred, often in relationship to a clock signal. The most common type is a sequential digital logic circuit with an input line called the clock and multiple output lines. The values on the output lines represent a number in the binary or BCD number system. Each pulse applied to the clock input increments or decrements the number in the counter.

Microcode is a computer hardware technique that interposes a layer of organisation between the CPU hardware and the programmer-visible instruction set architecture of the computer. As such, the microcode is a layer of hardware-level instructions that implement higher-level machine code instructions or internal state machine sequencing in many digital processing elements. Microcode is used in general-purpose central processing units, although in current desktop CPUs it is only a fallback path for cases that the faster hardwired control unit cannot handle.

Digital electronics, digital technology or digital (electronic) circuits are electronics that operate on digital signals. In contrast, analog circuits manipulate analog signals whose performance is more subject to manufacturing tolerance, signal attenuation and noise. Digital techniques are helpful because it is a lot easier to get an electronic device to switch into one of a number of known states than to accurately reproduce a continuous range of values.

Static random-access memory is a type of semiconductor random-access memory (RAM) that uses bistable latching circuitry (flip-flop) to store each bit. SRAM exhibits data remanence, but it is still volatile in the conventional sense that data is eventually lost when the memory is not powered.

A universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter is a computer hardware device for asynchronous serial communication in which the data format and transmission speeds are configurable. The electric signaling levels and methods are handled by a driver circuit external to the UART. A UART is usually an individual integrated circuit (IC) used for serial communications over a computer or peripheral device serial port. One or more UART peripherals are commonly integrated in microcontroller chips. A related device, the universal synchronous and asynchronous receiver-transmitter (USART) also supports synchronous operation.

The Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) is a synchronous serial communication interface specification used for short-distance communication, primarily in embedded systems. The interface was developed by Motorola in the mid-1980s and has become a de facto standard. Typical applications include Secure Digital cards and liquid crystal displays.

JTAG is an industry standard for verifying designs and testing printed circuit boards after manufacture.

A delay-insensitive circuit is a type of asynchronous circuit which performs a digital logic operation often within a computing processor chip. Instead of using clock signals or other global control signals, the sequencing of computation in delay-insensitive circuit is determined by the data flow.

A synchronous circuit is a digital circuit in which the changes in the state of memory elements are synchronized by a clock signal. In a sequential digital logic circuit, data is stored in memory devices called flip-flops or latches. The output of a flip-flop is constant until a pulse is applied to its "clock" input, upon which the input of the flip-flop is latched into its output. In a synchronous logic circuit, an electronic oscillator called the clock generates a string of pulses, the "clock signal". This clock signal is applied to every storage element, so in an ideal synchronous circuit, every change in the logical levels of its storage components is simultaneous. Ideally, the input to each storage element has reached its final value before the next clock occurs, so the behaviour of the whole circuit can be predicted exactly. Practically, some delay is required for each logical operation, resulting in a maximum speed at which each synchronous system can run.

Metastability in electronics is the ability of a digital electronics system to persist for an unbounded time in an unstable equilibrium or metastable state. In digital logic circuits, a digital signal is required to be within certain voltage or current limits to represent a '0' or '1' logic level for correct circuit operation; if the signal is within a forbidden intermediate range it may cause faulty behavior in logic gates the signal is applied to. In metastable states, the circuit may be unable to settle into a stable '0' or '1' logic level within the time required for proper circuit operation. As a result, the circuit can act in unpredictable ways, and may lead to a system failure, sometimes referred to as a "glitch". Metastability is an instance of the Buridan's ass paradox.

The primary focus of this article is asynchronous control in digital electronic systems. In a synchronous system, operations are coordinated by one, or more, centralized clock signals. An asynchronous digital system, in contrast, has no global clock. Asynchronous systems do not depend on strict arrival times of signals or messages for reliable operation. Coordination is achieved via events such as: packet arrival, changes (transitions) of signals, handshake protocols, and other methods.

In digital electronic design a clock domain crossing (CDC), or simply clock crossing, is the traversal of a signal in a synchronous digital circuit from one clock domain into another. If a signal does not assert long enough and is not registered, it may appear asynchronous on the incoming clock boundary.

The history of general-purpose CPUs is a continuation of the earlier history of computing hardware.

The Intel 8255 Programmable Peripheral Interface (PPI) chip was developed and manufactured by Intel in the first half of the 1970s for the Intel 8080 microprocessor. The 8255 provides 24 parallel input/output lines with a variety of programmable operating modes.

An arithmetic logic unit (ALU) is a combinational digital electronic circuit that performs arithmetic and bitwise operations on integer binary numbers. This is in contrast to a floating-point unit (FPU), which operates on floating point numbers. An ALU is a fundamental building block of many types of computing circuits, including the central processing unit (CPU) of computers, FPUs, and graphics processing units (GPUs). A single CPU, FPU or GPU may contain multiple ALUs.

Globally asynchronous locally synchronous (GALS) is an architecture for designing electronic circuits which addresses the problem of safe and reliable data transfer between independent clock domains. GALS is a Model of Computation (MoC) that emerged in the 1980s. It allows to design computer systems consisting of several synchronous islands interacting with other islands using asynchronous communication, e.g. with FIFOs.

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16. LARD Archived March 6, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
17. "In the 1950 and 1960s, asynchronous design was used in many early mainframe computers, including the ILLIAC I and ILLIAC II ... ." Brief History of asynchronous circuit design
18. "The Illiac is a binary parallel asynchronous computer in which negative numbers are represented as two's complements." – final summary of "Illiac Design Techniques" 1955.
19. "Entirely asynchronous, its hundred-odd boards would send out requests, earmark the results for somebody else, swipe somebody else's signals or data, and backstab each other in all sorts of amusing ways which occasionally failed (the "op not complete" timer would go off and cause a fault). ... [There] was no hint of an organized synchronization strategy: various "it's ready now", "ok, go", "take a cycle" pulses merely surged through the vast backpanel ANDed with appropriate state and goosed the next guy down. Not without its charms, this seemingly ad-hoc technology facilitated a substantial degree of overlap ... as well as the [segmentation and paging] of the Multics address mechanism to the extant 6000 architecture in an ingenious, modular, and surprising way ... . Modification and debugging of the processor, though, were no fun." "Multics Glossary: ... 6180"
20. "10/81 ... DPS 8/70M CPUs" Multics Chronology
21. "The Series 60, Level 68 was just a repackaging of the 6180." Multics Hardware features: Series 60, Level 68
22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
24. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
25. "A Network-based Asynchronous Architecture for Cryptographic Devices" by Ljiljana Spadavecchia 2005 in section "4.10.2 Side-channel analysis of dual-rail asynchronous architectures" and section "5.5.5.1 Instruction set"
26. "Handshake Solutions HT80C51" "The Handshake Solutions HT80C51 is a Low power, asynchronous 80C51 implementation using handshake technology, compatible with the standard 8051 instruction set."
27. SEAforth Overview Archived 2008-02-02 at the Wayback Machine "... asynchronous circuit design throughout the chip. There is no central clock with billions of dumb nodes dissipating useless power. ... the processor cores are internally asynchronous themselves."
28. "GreenArrayChips" "Ultra-low-powered multi-computer chips with integrated peripherals."
29. "Seiko Epson tips flexible processor via TFT technology" Archived 2010-02-01 at the Wayback Machine by Mark LaPedus 2005
30. "A flexible 8b asynchronous microprocessor based on low-temperature poly-silicon TFT technology" by Karaki et al. 2005. Abstract: "A flexible 8b asynchronous microprocessor ACTII ... The power level is 30% of the synchronous counterpart."
31. "Introduction of TFT R&D Activities in Seiko Epson Corporation" by Tatsuya Shimoda (2005?) has picture of "A flexible 8-bit asynchronous microprocessor, ACT11"
32. "Seiko Epson details flexible microprocessor: A4 sheets of e-paper in the pipeline by Paul Kallender 2005
33. "SyNAPSE program develops advanced brain-inspired chip" Archived 2014-08-10 at the Wayback Machine . August 07, 2014.