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A fundamental difference between application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) is that the wires in ASICs are designed to match the requirements of a particular design. Conversely, in an FPGA, the area is fixed and the routing resources exist whether or not they are used. In this paper, we investigate how well several common network topologies map onto a modern FPGA routing fabric. Different multiprocessor network topologies with between 8 and 64 nodes are mapped to a single large FPGA. Except for the fully-connected networks, it is observed that the difference in logic resources used and routing overhead among these topologies is insignificant for the systems tested. Fully-connected networks up to about 22 nodes are also feasible on the same FPGA although the logic and routing utilization clearly grows much faster. The conclusion is that a modern FPGA fabric is very rich in resources and capable of supporting highly interconnected topologies. For systems with a modest number of nodes implemented on current large FPGAs, it is not necessary to use the connectivity-limited topologies typically used for networks-on-chip. Rather, direct point-to-point connections between all communicating nodes can be considered.
Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:15 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2007