` CHIPS (Caltech Asynchronous VLSI Group)

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To read a description of the chip, click on its name.

The Caltech Asynchronous Microprocessor (also know as CAM) is the world-first asynchronous microprocessor. It was fabricated in 1988 by our research group at Caltech. (The chip was taped-out in December 1988.) It is a 16-bit RISC machine with 16 general-purpose registers. Its peak performance is 5 MIPS at 2V drawing 5.2mA of current, 18 MIPS at 5V drawing 45mA, and 26 MIPS at 10V drawing 105mA in HP 1.6µm CMOS.

The CAM was first described in this 1989 Caltech VLSI Conference paper. The test results were published in this Computer Architecture News paper.

The exceptional robustness of the CAM to supply-voltage variations and its low-voltage operation are dramatically demonstrated by Mika Nyström's potato-chip experiment.

The CAM was ported to Gallium Arsenide by Jose Tierno in 1993. The GaAs version ran at 100 MIPS, which was quite impressive at the time. The description of the GaAs design can be found in this paper.

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Mailing Address: Alain Martin, Department of Computer Science, Caltech 256-80, Pasadena CA 91125, USA.
This research is supported by the National Science Foundation.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2006