Balsa Asynchronous Synthesis System 3.5 review

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Balsa project is an asynchronous circuit synthesis system

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 2489K
Developer: Advanced Processor Technology
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Balsa project is an asynchronous circuit synthesis system. Balsa is built around the Handshake Circuits methology, and it can generate gate level netlists from high-level descriptions in the Balsa language.

Both dual-rail (QDI) and single-rail (bundled data) circuits can be generated.

GCC >= 3.2
GLIB >= 1.2.0
GTK >= 1.2.0
GNU libgmp multiprecision arithmetic library >= 4.1
GNU guile Scheme interpreter >= 1.3


1) cd to a convenient build directory and get all the packages listed above

2) Choose a handy installation directory, eg. /usr/local/balsa, and add that directory to your shell paths:


3) Install the Balsa package:

tar xzf balsa-3.4.2.tar.gz
cd balsa-3.4.2
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/balsa
make install
cd ..

4) Install the other optional packages:

tar xzf gtkwave-2.0.0pre5.tar.gz
cd gtkwave-2.0.0pre5
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/balsa
make install
cd ..
tar xzf espresso-ab-1.0.tar.gz
cd espresso-ab-1.0
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/balsa
make install
cd ..

4b) Install dot if you want the visualisation system

* Either from the graphviz package (better)
tar xzf graphviz-2.2.tar.gz
cd graphviz-2.2
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/balsa
make install
cd ..

* Or from the binary version (deprecated)
#chmod +x dot--1.10
#cp dot--1.10 /usr/local/balsa/bin/dot

5) Check that the executables gtkwave, espresso and dot are visible in the path

which gtkwave
which espresso
which dot

6) Check that the executable balsa-config is visible

which balsa-config

7) Install the example technology package

tar xzf balsa-tech-example-3.4.tar.gz
cd balsa-tech-example-3.4
./configure # Note, no prefix!
# Configure should find the Balsa installation
make install
cd ..

8) If you need Verilog simulation, please continue with the instructions in INSTALL_VerilogSimulators

What's New in This Release:
This release adds several changes aimed at achieving substantial performance improvements by the introduction of new handshake components. A number of experimental features have been made visible to the general user and there have been a number of minor bug fixes.

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