Document Type

Open Access Thesis

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Degree Program

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S.E.C.E.)

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Technology scaling has enabled the number of cores within a System on Chip (SoC) to increase significantly. Globally Asynchronous Locally Synchronous (GALS) systems using Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) operate each of these cores on distinct and dynamic clock domains. The main communication method between these cores is increasingly more likely to be a Network-on-Chip (NoC). Typically, the interfaces between these clock domains experience multi-cycle synchronization latencies due to their use of “brute-force” synchronizers. This dissertation aims to improve the performance of NoCs and thereby SoCs as a whole by reducing this synchronization latency.

First, a survey of NoC improvement techniques is presented. One such improvement technique: a multi-layer NoC, has been successfully simulated. Given how one of the most commonly used techniques is DVFS, a thorough analysis and simulation of brute-force synchronizer circuits in both current and future process technologies is presented. Unfortunately, a multi-cycle latency is unavoidable when using brute-force synchronizers, so predictive synchronizers which require only a single cycle of latency have been proposed.

To demonstrate the impact of these predictive synchronizer circuits at a high level, multi-core system simulations incorporating these circuits have been completed. Multiple forms of GALS NoC configurations have been simulated, including multi-synchronous, NoC-synchronous, and single-synchronizer. Speedup on the SPLASH benchmark suite was measured to directly quantify the performance benefit of predictive synchronizers in a full system. Additionally, Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) has been calculated for each NoC synchronizer configuration to determine the reliability benefit possible when using predictive synchronizers.