An Introduction to Balsa

  • Jens Sparsø
  • Steve Furber


Balsa is both a framework for synthesising asynchronous hardware systems and a language for describing such systems. The approach adopted is that of syntax-directed compilation into communicating handshaking components and closely follows the Tangram system ([141, 135] and Chapter 13 on page 221) of Philips. The advantage of this approach is that the compilation is transparent: there is a one-to-one mapping between the language constructs in the specification and the intermediate handshake circuits that are produced. It is relatively easy for an experienced user to envisage the micro-architecture of the circuit that results from the original description. Incremental changes made at the language level result in predictable changes at the circuit implementation level. This is important if optimisations and design trade-offs are to be made easily and contrasts with synchronous VHDL synthesis in which small changes in the specification may make radical alterations to the resulting circuit.


Parallel Composition Storage Element Area Cost Assignment Operator Input Communication 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Sparsø
    • 1
  • Steve Furber
    • 2
  1. 1.Technical University of DenmarkDenmark
  2. 2.The University of ManchesterUK

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