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A Block-Based Open Source Approach for a Reconfigurable Virtual Instrumentation Platform Using FPGA Technology

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4 Author(s)
Andres Cicuttin ; ICTP-INFN, Microprocessor Laboratory, Trieste, Italy. email: ; Maria Liz Crespo ; Alexander Shapiro ; Nizar Abdallah

Recent advances in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) have made it possible to efficiently build various complex hardware emulation systems. This technology promises new levels of system integration onto a single FPGA, but also presents significant challenges to designers. The proposed reconfigurable virtual instrumentation (RVI) project leverages the latest FPGA technological advances. Its goal is to provide a low-cost reusable hardware/software platform for the emulation of multiple electronic and scientific instrumentation systems. Unlike previous approaches, the proposed architecture leverages a block-based design methodology that emphasizes design reuse as an effective mean to cope with the challenge of a growing design complexity. An open source approach to the project allows future contributors to rely on previously developed software, making the emulation of new instruments increasingly more cost-effective. This paper details the architecture of the RVI system with its main building blocks. It also illustrates its capabilities with multiple implementation examples

Published in:

2006 IEEE International Conference on Reconfigurable Computing and FPGA's (ReConFig 2006)

Date of Conference:

Sept. 2006