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VLSI Design
Volume 12 (2001), Issue 2, Pages 167-186

Automatic FSM Synthesis for Low-power Mixed Synchronous/Asynchronous Implementation

1Mid-Sweden University, Department of Information Technology, Sundsvall, Sweden
2Tallinn Technical University, Department of Computer Engineering, Tallinn, Estonia

Received 20 June 2000; Revised 3 August 2000

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Power consumption in a synchronous FSM (Finite-State Machine) can be reduced by partitioning it into a number of coupled sub-FSMs where only the part that is involved in a state transition is clocked. Automatic synthesis of a partitioned FSM includes a partitioning algorithm and sub-FSM synthesis to an implementation architecture. In this paper, we first introduce an implementation architecture for partitioned FSMs that uses gated-clock technique for disabling idle parts of the circuits and asynchronous controllers for communication between the sub-FSMs. We then describe a new transformation procedure for the sub-FSM. The FSM synthesis flow has been automated in a prototype tool that accepts an FSM specification. The tool generates synthesizable RT-level VHDL code with identical cycle-to-cycle input/output behavior in accordance with the specification. An average power reduction of 45% has been obtained for a set standard FSM benchmarks.