The Kiel Esterel Processor - A Semi-Custom, Configurable Reactive Processor

Authors Xin Li, Reinhard von Hanxleden

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Xin Li
Reinhard von Hanxleden

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Xin Li and Reinhard von Hanxleden. The Kiel Esterel Processor - A Semi-Custom, Configurable Reactive Processor. In Synchronous Programming - SYNCHRON'04. Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings, Volume 4491, pp. 1-16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2005)


The synchronous language Esterel is an established language for developing reactive systems. It gives an abstract, well-defined and executable description of the application, and can be synthesized into hardware and software. Typically, an Esterel program is first translated into other, lower-level languages (such as VHDL or C), and then compiled further. However, there is also the alternative of executing Esterel-like instructions directly. For example, in the REFLIX and RePIC projects, Roop et al.\ have augmented traditional processors with custom hardware to execute Esterel instructions. This patch strategy is a convenient approach, but has some shortages. We present the Kiel Esterel Processor (KEP), a semi-custom, configurable reactive processor for the direct execution of Esterel programs. It consists of a reactive core and scalable peripheral elements. KEP supports standard Esterel statements directly, except (so far) for the concurrency operator. Valued signals and counter functions in Esterel statements are supported by KEP. Due to its control path and its cooperation with elements, KEP obeys exact Esterel (preemption and priority) rules, including for example abort/weak abort (nests).
  • Esterel
  • synchronous languages
  • reactive programming
  • ASIPs


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