Design and performance optimization of asynchronous networks-on-chip

Weiwei Jiang
As digital systems continue to grow in complexity, the design of conventional synchronous systems is facing unprecedented challenges. The number of transistors on individual chips is already in the multi-billion range, and a greatly increasing number of components are being integrated onto a single chip. As a consequence, modern digital designs are under strong time-to-market pressure, and there is a critical need for composable design approaches for large complex systems. In the past two
more » ... s, networks-on-chip (NoC's) have been a highly active research area. In a NoC-based system, functional blocks are first designed individually and may run at different clock rates. These modules are then connected through a structured network for on-chip global communication. However, due to the rigidity of centrally-clocked NoC's, there have been bottlenecks of system scalability, energy and performance, which cannot be easily solved with synchronous approaches. As a result, there has been significant recent interest in combing the notion of asynchrony with NoC designs. Since the NoC approach inherently separates the communication infrastructure, and its timing, from computational elements, it is a natural match for an asynchronous paradigm. Asynchronous NoC's, therefore, enable a modular and extensible system composition for an 'object-orient' design style. The thesis aims to significantly advance the state-of-art and viability of asynchronous and globally-asynchronous locally-synchronous (GALS) networks-on-chip, to enable high-performance and low-energy systems. The proposed asynchronous NoC's are nearly entirely based on standard cells, which eases their integration into industrial design flows. The contributions are instantiated in three different directions. First, practical acceleration techniques are proposed for optimizing the system latency, in order to break through the latency bottleneck in the memory interfaces of many on-chip parallel processors. Novel asynchronous network protocols are propo [...]
doi:10.7916/d8rf7b21 fatcat:tvsdrghsyffcpcb6u7xzx54nyq