Hardware

On Self-Timed Circuits in Real-Time Systems

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Executive Summary

While asynchronous logic has many potential advantages compared to traditional synchronous designs, one of the major drawbacks is its unpredictability with respect to temporal behavior. Having no high-precision oscillator, a self-timed circuit's execution speed is heavily dependent on temperature and supply voltage. Small fluctuations of these parameters already result in noticeable changes of the design's throughput and performance. Without further provisions this jitter makes the use of asynchronous logic hardly feasible for real-time applications. The authors investigate the temporal characteristics of self-timed circuits regarding their usage in real-time systems, especially the Time-Triggered Protocol.

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