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A Low-Energy Reconfigurable Fabric for the SuperCISC Architecture

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4 Author(s)

Hardware acceleration using field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) has become increasingly popular for computationally intensive digital signal processing (DSP) applications. Unfortunately, while FPGAs have a reasonably tractable computer aided design (CAD) flow and performance, they have poor power characteristics when compared to direct application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) fabrication. ASICs exhibit better performance and power than FPGAs, but require complex CAD and large non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs. A reconfigurable device that exhibits ASIC-like power characteristics and FPGA-like costs and tool support is desirable to fill this void. Several coarse-grained fabric architectures proposed during the last decade have been focused on performance and area-efficient architectural techniques. Even though power is becoming one of the critical design concerns for semiconductor industry, this issue has not been adequately addressed in the existing coarse-grained fabric architectures. In this paper, a low-power and high-performance hardware acceleration engine for DSP style applications is described. This reconfigurable fabric model is generic and parameterizable allowing design parameters to be adjusted within the architecture. The impact of varying different design parameters such as functional unit granularity, and multiplexer cardinality are studied for their implications on power and performance. The low-power fabric was designed to operate within the SuperCISC processor architecture designed at the University of Pittsburgh

Published in:

2006 14th Annual IEEE Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines

Date of Conference:

24-26 April 2006