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Automata to Routing

Automata to Routing is an open-source toolchain to design and evaluate island style spatial automata processing architectures. ATR leverages three open-source tools 1) ANMLZoo, 2) VASim, and 3) VTR to accomplish this task.


ATR is run by running vpr using an automata circuit file on a valid spatial automata architecture description file. An example script used to run experiments for the FCCM'17 paper is in scripts/

A simple example using the current mandatory flags is shown below:

vpr --allow_unrelated_clustering off --sweep_dangling_blocks off --timing_analysis off d480.xml <blif_file>.blif

Blif Emission

VASim is capable of generating .blif files from ANML or MNRL graph formats. An example using VASim to generate a blif file after optimizing the automata and enforcing a fan-in of 8 is shown below.

vasim -Ox --enforce-fanin 8 --blif example.anml

Spatial Automata Architecture Description

Most of the difficulty of this project was learning VPR's architecture description format, and building a file that would approximate the Micron D480 Automata Processor. Please refer to the VTR/VPR GitHub or mailing lists for architecture description definition questions.

Note that architectures and .blif files must be co-designed. You may need to modify VASim, or build your own .blif generation tool to be useful with your own architecture.

The original architecture description file used to generate results for the FCCM'17 paper (archs/d480_8row_fccm17.xml) is presented. We used this file with VPR 8.0.0-dev+6e709d2.

archs/d480.xml is maintained to be compatible with the current development trunk of vpr.


Automata-to-Routing left many interesting questions unanswered. If you are a researcher interested in augmenting ATR or evaluating your own spatial automata processing architecture. This tool is for you!

  • Add timing/power/area modeling.
  • Add functionality for .blif emission and architecture support for boolean logic and counter elements available in the ANML specification.
  • Experiment with VPR command line parameters to get closer to the performance of Micron's compiler.

Citing ATR

Please cite the FCCM'17 paper if you use ATR in your work.

  title={{Automata-to-Routing: An Open Source Toolchain for Design-Space Exploration of Spatial Automata Processing Architectures}},  
  author={Wadden, Jack and Khan, Samira and Skadron, Kevin},  
  booktitle={Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines (FCCM)},  


The license of the architecture description file and script is BSD 3-clause. Because each .blif file is derived from an ANML file in the ANMLZoo benchmark suite. Each .blif file retains the license available in each benchmark directory at Note that the ANMLZoo benchmark suite is subject to change. These files are only kept to support those attempting to compare to the original FCCM paper without the need for VASim, and are not meant to be updated as ANMLZoo evolves.


This work was started at the University of Virginia and was supported by the following organizations at some point in time: The ARCS Foundation, the National Science Foundation (EF-1124931), Micron Technologies, and the Center for Future Architectures Research (C-FAR), one of the six centers of STARnet, a Semiconductor Research Corporation program sponsored by MARCO and Darpa.