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International Journal of Reconfigurable Computing
Volume 2010, Article ID 352428, 11 pages
Research Article

Design of a Reconfigurable Pulsed Quad-Cell for Cellular-Automata-Based Conformal Computing

1Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58102, USA
2Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58102, USA

Received 22 November 2009; Revised 1 April 2010; Accepted 28 June 2010

Academic Editor: Paul Chow

Copyright © 2010 Mariam Hoseini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents the design of a reconfigurable asynchronous computing element, called the pulsed quad-cell (PQ-cell), for constructing conformal computers. Conformal computers are systems with an exceptional ability to conform to the physical and computational needs of an application. PQ-cells, like cellular automata, are assembled into arrays, communicate with neighboring cells, and are collectively capable of general computation. They operate asynchronously to scale without the limitations of a global clock and to minimize power consumption. Cell operations are stimulated by pulses which travel on different wires to represent 0's and 1's. Cells are individually configured to perform logic, move and store information, and coordinate parallel activity. The PQ-cell design targets a 0.25  m CMOS technology. Simulations show that a single cell consumes 15.6 pJ per operation when pulsed at 1.3 GHz. Examples of multicell structures include a 98 MHz ring oscillator and a 190 MHz pipeline.