Computers without Clocks

Old Blog Import

Our research group at Sun Microsystems Laboratories seeks such alternatives. Along with several other groups worldwide, we are investigating ways to design computing systems in which each part can proceed at its own pace instead of depending on the rhythm of a central clock. We call such systems asynchronous. Each part of an asynchronous system may extend or shorten the timing of its steps when necessary, much as a hiker takes long or short steps when walking across rough terrain. Some of the pioneers of the computer age, such as mathematician Alan M. Turing, tried using asynchronous designs to build machines in the early 1950s. Engineers soon abandoned this approach in favor of synchronous computers because common timing made the design process so much easier.”

Scientific American