Naturalized Communication and Testing

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2015 21st IEEE International Symposium on Asynchronous Circuits and Systems (ASYNC)

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We "naturalize" the handshake communication links of a self-timed system by assigning the capabilities of filling and draining a link and of storing its full or empty status to the link itself. This contrasts with assigning these capabilities to the joints, the modules connected by the links, as was previously done. Under naturalized communication, the differences between Micropipeline, GasP, Mousetrap, and Click circuits are seen only in the links -- the joints become identical; past, present, and future link and joint designs become interchangeable. We also "naturalize" the actions of a self-timed system, giving actions status equal to states -- for the purpose of silicon test and debug. We partner traditional scan test techniques dedicated to state with new test capabilities dedicated to action. To each and every joint, we add a novel proper-start-stop circuit, called MrGO, that permits or forbids the action of that joint. MrGO, pronounced "Mister GO," makes it possible to (1) exit an initial state cleanly to start circuit operation in a delay-insensitive manner, (2) stop a running circuit in a clean and delay-insensitive manner, (3) single- or multi-step circuit operations for test and debug, and (4) test sub-systems at speed.



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