Issue No. 08 - August (1985 vol. 34)
A.L. Fisher , Department of Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University
Highly parallel VLSI computing structures consist of many processing elements operating simultaneously. In order for such processing elements to communicate among themselves, some provision must be made for synchronization of data transfer. The simplest means of synchronization is the use of a global clock. Unfortunately, large clocked systems can be difficult to implement because of the inevitable problem of clock skews and delays, which can be especially acute in VLSI systems as feature sizes shrink. For the near term, good engineering and technology improvements can be expected to maintain the feasibility of clocking in such systems; however, clock distribution problems crop up in any technology as systems grow. An alternative means of enforcing necessary synchronization is the use of self-timed asynchronous schemes, at the cost of increased design complexity and hardware cost. Realizing that different circumstances call for different synchronization methods, this paper provides a spectrum of synchronization models; based on the assumptions made for each model, theoretical lower bounds on clock skew are derived, and appropriate or best possible synchronization schemes for large processor arrays are proposed.
VLSI complexity, Clock skew, processor arrays, synchronization, systolic arrays
A. Fisher and H. Kung, "Synchronizing Large VLSI Processor Arrays," in IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 34, no. , pp. 734-740, 1985.