The quote from Ken Stevens, whose opinion I respect, makes a compelling argument, and certainly Intel has a lot of expertise on asynchronous design, but I'm wondering if its position is similar to that of Kodak inventing digital imaging in the s. That is, there would be less money for Intel to make in a future where asynchronous design prevails, so there's no incentive for them to develop it. With a properly executed tool chain, asynchronous design would be a comparable skill to software development that is, less of an elitist activity than it is now and the circuits would be more likely to work on the first try because a whole class of hardware bugs wouldn't be a thing anymore. Any comments or am I just a plonker for believing this? I'd say it's the other way round. People have trouble learning synchronous logic design because everything happens in parallel, but it's a set of well-understood building blocks.
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Every action of the computer takes place in tiny steps, each a billionth of a second long. A simple transfer of data may take only one step; complex calculations may take many steps. All operations, however, must begin and end according to the clock's timing signals.
The use of a central clock also creates problems. As speeds have increased, distributing the timing signals has become more and more difficult. Present-day transistors can process data so quickly that they can accomplish several steps in the time that it takes a wire to carry a signal from one side of the chip to the other.
Keeping the rhythm identical in all parts of a large chip requires careful design and a great deal of electrical power. Wouldn't it be nice to have an alternative? Clockless approach, which uses a technique known as asynchronous logic, differs from conventional computer circuit design in that the switching on and off of digital circuits is controlled individually by specific pieces of data rather than by a tyrannical clock that forces all of the millions of the circuits on a chip to march in unison.
It overcomes all the disadvantages of a clocked circuit such as slow speed, high power consumption, high electromagnetic noise etc.
For these reasons the clockless technology is considered as the technology which is going to drive majority of electronic chips in the coming years. The clock is a tiny crystal oscillator that resides in the heart of every microprocessor chip. The clock is what which sets the basic rhythm used throughout the machine. The clock orchestrates the synchronous dance of electrons that course through the hundreds of millions of wires and transistors of a modern computer.
Such crystals which tick up to 2 billion times each second in the fastest of today's desktop personal computers, dictate the timing of every circuit in every one of the chips that add, subtract, divide, multiply and move the ones and zeros that are the basic stuff of the information age.
Conventional chips synchronous operate under the control of a central clock, which samples data in the registers at precisely timed intervals. Computer chips of today are synchronous: they contain a main clock which controls the timing of the entire chips. One advantage of a clock is that, the clock signals to the devices of the chip when to input or output. This functionality of the synchronous design makes designing the chip much easier.
There are problems that go along with the clock, however. Clock speeds are now in the gigahertz range and there is not much room for speedup before physical realities start to complicate things. With a gigahertz clock powering a chip, signals barely have enough time to make it across the chip before the next clock tick.
At this point, speedup up the clock frequency could become disastrous. This is when a chip that is not constricted by clock speeds could become very valuable. Clockless Chip Published on Apr 19, Are you interested in this topic. Then mail to us immediately to get the full report.
It’s Time for Clockless Chips
Ponytailed and animated, the founder and chief technical officer of Theseus Logic fills the whiteboard with sweeping illustrative examples, kneeling down to use every bit of available writing space. He is in his socks. His low desk is covered by a formless mass of memos and transcripts and other paper stuff, all mounding slightly toward the middle. There are no chairs-only pillows strewn artlessly about on the floor. But no: Fant leads you to a conventional conference room next door, where, thankfully, there is a chair. By throwing out the clock, the fundamental way that chips, since the dawn of the Computer Age, have organized and executed their work. Even those of us who know nothing about microprocessors know something about their clocks-Intel for years has used the clock speed of its microprocessors as a marketing tool, where faster is better.