Clockless computing

William H. Danforth (second from left), chancellor emeritus and vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, shakes hands with computing pioneer Ivan Sutherland, vice president and fellow of Sun Microsystems, known as the “father of computer graphics,” at the University’s recent “Clockless Computing: Coordinating Billions of Transistors” symposium. Looking on are symposium organizer Jerome R. Cox, Sc.D. (left), senior professor in computer science and engineering, and Wesley A. Clark, the designer of the world’s first personal computer, a former University faculty member and now a full-time consultant. The event drew many nationwide participants to honor both the University’s Sesquicentennial and the 30th anniversary of the completion of a seminal project on macromodule computer design — work that anticipated current endeavors to go clockless, or asynchronous. Clockless computing marks an important change from present systems, which are based on a regularly ticking clock and are considered inadequate to deal with very large integrated circuits.

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