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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
- Leonardo da Vinci -


Research in Alain Martin's lab is about developing design methods that can cope with the increasing complexity of modern computing systems--hardware or software--with an emphasis in the areas of concurrency and Asynchronous VLSI. Our interest in VLSI was triggered by the observation that a modern VLSI circuit is mostly a complex distributed system on a chip. Other research topics include concurrent algorithms, languages, and semantics; and parallel machine architectures.

ASYNCHRONOUS VLSI -- Currently, our main research topic is asynchronous VLSI. A digital circuit is called "asynchronous" when it doesn't use a clock, and therefore such circuits lend themselves perfectly to a high-level synthesis approach. We believe that the complexity and brittleness of today's VLSI systems requires new design methods based on asynchronous techniques, concurrency, high-level synthesis, and verification. Read more...

CONCURRENCY IN COMPUTATION -- Concurrency has been the leading thread of the group research, and the theoretical basis on which the Caltech asynchronous design method was built. Some of the concurrency work predates the asynchronous VLSI activity, including:

  • the introduction of the notion of slack and the probe construct.
  • various concurrent algorithms, among which: "on-the-fly garbage collection" (as one of EWD's co-authors), distributed mutual exclusion with message-passing, a generalization of Dekker's algorithm for mutual exclusion with shared variables.
  • the work on message-passing parallel machine architectures and the "processing surface" paradigm.

Some of the concurrency work was developed as part of the asynchronous VLSI activity, like:

  • the design of the concurrent language CHP.
  • synthesis by program transformations.
  • the theory of slack elasticity and slack matching.

The research has been supported by DARPA, the NSF, and the Air Force.

To Caltech Department of Computer Science Home Page
Mailing Address: Alain J. Martin, Department of Computer Science, Caltech 256-80, Pasadena CA 91125, USA.
This research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation.
Last Modified: May 2008