First Advisor

Christof Teuscher

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering




Nanoarchitecture, Random Boolean networks, Small-world Networks, Computer networks -- Evaluation, Computer architecture, Cellular automata



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiv, 67 p.) : ill. (some col.) + 1 slideshow (MS PowerPoint file)


With the transition from single-core to multi-core computing and CMOS technology reaching its physical limits, new computing architectures which are scalable, robust, and low-power are required. A promising alternative to conventional computing architectures are Cellular Automata (CA) networks and Random Boolean Networks (RBN), where simple computational nodes combine to form a network that is capable of performing a larger computational task. It has previously been shown that RBNs can offer superior characteristics over mesh networks in terms of robustness, information processing capabilities, and manufacturing costs while the locally connected computing elements of a CA network provide better scalability and low average interconnect length. This study presents a low level hardware analysis of these architectures using a framework which generates the HDL code and netlist of these networks for various network parameters. The HDL code and netlists are then used to simulate these new computing architectures to estimate the latency, area and power consumed when implemented on silicon and performing a pre-determined computation. We show that for RBNs, information processing is faster compared to a CA network, but CA networks are found to a have lower and better distribution of power dissipation than RBNs because of their regular structure. A well-established task to determine the latency of operation for these architectures is presented for a good understanding of the effect of non-local connections in a network. Programming the nodes for this purpose is done externally using a novel self-configuration algorithm requiring minimal hardware. Configuration for RBNs is done by sending in configuration packets through a randomly chosen node. Logic for identifying the topology for the network is implemented for the nodes in the RBN network to enable compilers to analyze and generate the configuration bit stream for that network. On the other hand, the configuration of the CA network is done by passing in configuration data through the inputs on one of the sides of the cell array and shifting it into the network. A study of the overhead of the network configuration and topology identification mechanisms are presented. An analysis of small-world networks in terms of interconnect power and information propagation capability has been presented. It has been shown that small-world networks, whose randomness lies between that of completely regular and completely irregular networks, are realistic while providing good information propagation capability. This study provides valuable information to help designers make decisions for various performance parameters for both RBN and CA networks, and thus to find the best design for the application under consideration.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Persistent Identifier

Thesis_Presentation_PDamera.pdf (1033 kB)
Thesis Presentation