My vision of Bio-inspired Electronic Design

I took part in a Panel on Bio-inspired Electronic Design Principles at the

Here are my slides

The quick summary of these ideas is here:


Summary of ideas for discussion from Alex Yakovlev, Newcastle University


With my 30 years of experience in designing and automating the design of self-timed (aka asynchronous) systems, I have been involved in studying and exploiting in practice the following characteristics of electronic systems:  inherent concurrency, event-driven and causality-based processing, parametric variation resilience, close-loop timing error avoidance and correction, energy-proportionality, digital and mixed-signal interfaces. More recently, I have been looking at new bio-inspired paradigms such as energy-modulated and power-adaptive computing, significance-driven approximate computing, real-power (to match real-time!) computing, computing with survival instincts, computing with central and peripheral powering and timing, power layering in systems architecting, exploiting burstiness and regularity of processing etc.

In most of these the central role belongs to the notion of energy flow as a key driving force in the new generation of microelectronics. I will therefore be approaching most of the Questions raised for the Panel from the energy flow perspective. The other strong aspect I want to address that acts as a drive for innovation in electronics is a combination of technological and economic factors, which is closely related to survival, both in the sense of longevity of a particular system as well as survival of design patterns and IPs as a longevity of the system as a kind or as a system design process.

My main tenets in this discussion are:

  • Compute where energy naturally flows.
  • Evolve (IPs, Designs) where biology (or nature as a whole) would evolve its parts (DNA, cells, cellular networks, organs).

I will also pose as one of the biggest challenges for semiconductor system the challenge of massive informational connectivity of parts at all levels of hierarchy, this is something that I hypothesize can only be addressed in hybrid cell-microelectronic systems. Information (and hence, data processing) flows should be commensurate to energy flows, only then we will be close to thermodynamic limits.

Alex Yakovlev



Newcastle Asynchronous Workshop 2016

We have just hosted an extraordinary event here, including

Newcastle Concurrency Workshop:

Newcastle Asynchronous Workshop:


Newcastle Workcraft Tutorial:

The main organisers of these workshops were Maciej Koutny, Andrey Mokhov and Danil Sokolov

The workshops attracted more than 30 external attendees and speakers.

Part of the Asynchronous Workshop was linked with a Festschrift event for my 60th birthday, where Andrey Mokhov gave me a special Festchrift volume edited by him and printed by Newcastle University publishing service. The book cosists of 30 essays written by 55 researchers from different parts of the world – they included my colleagues in the Async community, Newcastle colleagues, my former and current PhD students and some good friends and colleagues with many years of friendship and collaboration.

The book exists in electronic format and if someone wishes to have a copy, please contact Andrey Mokhov who will send you the pdf file.

At this workshop I gave a talk about the 25-year history of Asynchronous Research at Newcastle. Here are the slides of my talk:

This Asynchronous World-AlexY





Asynchronous Design for Analogue Electronics: Talk at the NMI Workshop on AMS

There was a workshop on Analogue Mixed Signal (AMS) Design on the 29th April at RAL, organised by National Microelectronics Institute (NMI) .

I gave a talk on A4A “Asynchronous Design for Analogue Electronics” – the slides are here:

There were many talks emphasizing the increasing role of digital circuits in new generation of analogue electronics. One of the messages from Andrew Talbot from Intel was: AMS designers – step in bravely into digital world!


PN’2015 Advanced Tutorial: Modeling, Synthesis and Verification of Hardware

We are giving an Advanced Tutorial: Modeling, Synthesis and Verification of Hardware on Tuesday 23rd June at the Petri nets 2015 Conference in Brussels.

The agenda of the tutorial and directions to the venue can be found here:

Everyone is welcome!


Our talks at ASYNC 2015 in Mountain View, Silicon Valley

We gave two talks on our papers accepted for ASYNC 2015:

  • Design and Verification of Speed-Independent Multiphase Buck Controller    [ Slides]
    Danil Sokolov, Victor Khomenko, Andrey Mokhov, Alex Yakovlev, and David Lloyd
  • Opportunistic Merge Element    [ Slides ]
    Andrey Mokhov, Victor Khomenko, Danil Sokolov, and Alex Yakovlev

Both emerged from our project A4A (Async for Analogue)

Three more NEMIG talks

There have been three more very interesting talks in our Eletromagnetism Interest Group’s seminars.

All their recordings can be found here:

Professor Russell Cowburn
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge
IEEE distinguished Lecturer 2015

Most thin magnetic films have their magnetization lying in the plane of the film because of shape anisotropy.  In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in thin magnetic films which exhibit a magnetization easy axis along the surface normal due to so-called Perpendicular Magnetic Anisotropy (PMA).  PMA has its origins in the symmetry breaking which occurs at surfaces and interfaces and can be strong enough to dominate the magnetic properties of some material systems.  In this talk I explain the physics of such materials and show how the magnetic properties associated with PMA are often very well suited to applications.  I show three different examples of real and potential applications of PMA materials: ultralow power STT-MRAM memory devices for green computing, 3-dimensional magnetic logic structures and a novel cancer therapy.

Prof. David Daniels CBE
Managing Director, Short Range Radar Systems Limited
Visiting Professor at University of Manchester

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is an electromagnetic technique for the detection, recognition and identification of objects or interfaces buried beneath the earth’s surface or located within a visually opaque structure. GPR can be used for many applications ranging from geophysical prospecting, forensic investigation, utility inspection, landmine and IED detection and through wall radar for security applications.

The main challenge for GPR as an electromagnetic imaging method is that of an ill-posed problem. The physical environment is in many situations inhomogeneous and consequently both propagation parameters and reflector / target occupancy are spatially variable. Current imaging methods such as diffraction tomography, reverse time migration, range migration and back projection work when the propagation parameters are well described and stable and the target radar cross section is relatively simple. The future challenge for GPR is to develop robust methods of imaging that work in real world conditions with more demanding targets.

The seminar will introduce the principles of the technique, the basic propagation issues as well as time domain and frequency domain system and antenna design from the system engineer’s viewpoint. Various applications will be considered and the basic signal processing methods that are used will be introduced using examples of some signal and imaging processing methods. The seminar will briefly consider the future developments needed to improve the inherent capability of the technique.

Paul Sutcliffe is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Durham University

Abstract: Non-abelian Yang-Mills-Higgs gauge theories have classical solutions that describe magnetic monopoles. These are stable soliton solutions with no singularties, that have the same long-range electromagnetic fields as those of a Dirac monopole. There are also multi-monopole solutions that have surprising symmetries, including those of the platonic solids.