Asynchronous High Level Synthesis Tool (VERISYN)

Our research centres around the implementation of a new CAD tool set for generating asynchronous circuits from high-level language level-sensitive specifications. Compared to synchronous CAD tools which are very mature and accepted by industry, there is still a shortage of mature CAD tools to support asynchronous circuit designs. We present supporting tools here which are targetted towards bridging this gap.

One of the reasons for the lack of commercial tools is the level of complexity of generating complex asynchronous circuits. Global asynchronous control solutions are error prone and suffer from state explosion problems. Direct mapping approaches attempt overcome this by using handshake specifications which describe the control and datapath together. Here we adopt a global direct mapping approach for input commercial language specifications which covers direct asynchronous mapping at all levels of the synthesis flow.

Our aim is to avoid the state explosion problem inherent in other asynchronous tools such as Petrify by using a synthesis approach which combines the advantages of using a direct mapping method and using a commercial language such as Verilog (VHDL) as a specification language. We explore the design space more like "CAMAD" using high level synthesis, but making use of a direct mapping approach from an intermediate Petri net format to generate asynchronous speed independent implementations.

Fig. 1. gives the block diagram which shows the synthesis flow exhibited by our technique using Verilog as an input behavioural specification language.

Fig. 1. Block diagram of synthesis flow.

In our toolflow high-level commercial language descriptions e.g. Verilog (VHDL) are initially compiled and converted into a novel intermediate Petri-net format. The intermediate format is subsequently used as a medium for Direct mapping to asynchronous circuits. The control nets are split into two types for mapping: (i) global control nets which are used for direct mapping to David Cells (DCs) and (ii) local control nets for mapping to simple control gates.

The intermediate format is subsequently passed to optimization tools and mapping tools where it is directly mapped into asynchronous datapath and control circuits using David Cells (DCs). Hardware components are selected from a basic library for mapping. An RTL Verilog description can also be output to a synthesis converter: i.e. a synchronous synthesis tool (e.g. Synopsys Design Compiler) generates circuits which are converted back to asynchronous circuits using a tool called Verimap. Finally logic optimization tools are applied to generate speed independent (SI) circuits.

A tool interface "VERISYN" has been developed for compiling and generating the output nets together with a link for generating target outputs. Fig. 2. shows a screen dump of the interface. The interface allows for Verilog specification entry, compilation, simulation and net generation, viewing and a link is provided to mapping software. The interface has been written in C and uses a C++ graphics library. a download for this is provided below.

Fig. 2. Screen dump of "VERISYN" interface.

Asynchronous synthesis binary:

VERISYN Tool: verisyn.tar.gz (5.27MB)

Last modified 9/12/2004 by IGC