Processes through the Looking Glass: Reflections on an Algebra for Delay-Insensitive Circuits

Mark Josephs

In his Turing Award Lecture (1989), Ivan Sutherland advocated the transition-signalling conceptual framework as it "offers the opportunity to build up complex [VLSI] systems by hierarchical composition from simpler pieces". The approach has its origins in the Macromodular Computer Design project at Washington University, St. Louis (1965-1974). Also in 1989, I started to collaborate with some Dutch researchers who had been developing its theoretical foundations and this collaboration quickly led to an algebraic approach (based on Hoare's Communicating Sequential Processes) to the design of delay-insensitive (DI) circuits. In this talk I shall review our so-called DI-Algebra, before focussing on more recent results (JK07) based on the idea of constructing the mirror or reflection of a process.

(JK07) M.B. Josephs and H.K. Kapoor (2007) Controllable Delay-Insensitive Processes, Fundamenta Informaticae 78(1):101-130.