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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Clockless Asynchronous Processor Announced By ARM And Handshake

ARM Holdings plc and Handshake Solutions NV, a Royal Philips Electronics subsidiary, have developed an asynchronous processor based on the ARM9 core. The ARM996HS is thought to be the first commercial clockless processor and is being described as particular suited to use as an automotive microcontroller.

ARM and Handshake (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) announced they were developing the processor back in October 2004, along with an unnamed lead customer, which it appears could be Philips.

The processor was designed to use Handshake Solutions’ clockless IC design technology and is said to be suitable for automotive, medical and deeply embedded control applications. Although reduced power consumption, due to the lack of clock circuitry, is one benefit the clockless design also produces a low electromagnetic signature because of the diffuse nature of digital transitions within the chip.

The ARM996HS processor can be used in both synchronous and asynchronous system-on-chip designs, ARM said. The lack of clock-edge driven current peaks should enable easier integration with analog components, in mixed-signal SOCs.

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