"Whilst such repeater circuits can be formed as standard cells, and hence can be incorporated into a wide variety of different designs of interconnect, such an approach incurs logic and interconnect overhead in order to configure the repeaters, due to the need to provide enable signals to the associated flip-flops 30 in order to control the operation of the repeaters. This can significantly degrade performance and energy efficiency. Additionally, a synchronising signal in the form of a clock signal is needed to eliminate contention when reversing signal propagation direction.
"Furthermore, as interconnect structures increase in complexity, the number of locations from which a bidirectional communication link can be driven is increasing, making the handling of the control signals required to configure the repeaters a significant design challenge. For example, the article by
"Recently, there has been a significant amount of research into the development of repeater-less signalling techniques. Examples of articles describing such repeater-less signalling techniques are:
"These techniques generally involve the use of pulse generation circuitry at one end of the bidirectional communication path to generate a pulse, with pulse detection circuitry at the other end of the bidirectional communication path then being arranged to detect that pulse. However, whilst such techniques can achieve high-speed communication with low energy dissipation based on reduced voltage swing, the pulse generation and detection circuitry needs to be carefully custom-designed having regards to each specific interconnect situation, and involves precise device matching, additional voltage supplies, and wider wire thickness/pitch. According, such techniques cannot be easily used in synthesis-based design flows or reused in different interconnect situations in the same design.
"Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an improved technique for transferring a data signal propagated along a bidirectional communication path within a data processing apparatus, which can be used without re-design within a wide variety of implementations, but with improved performance and reduced energy consumption when compared with the traditional approach described earlier with reference to FIG. 1."
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