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Reliability and Availability in Reconfigurable Computing: A Basis for a Common Solution

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4 Author(s)
Manuel G. Gericota ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Polytech. Inst. of Porto, Porto ; Gustavo R. Alves ; Miguel L. Silva ; JosÉ M. Ferreira

Dynamically reconfigurable SRAM-based field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) enable the implementation of reconfigurable computing systems where several applications may be run simultaneously, sharing the available resources according to their own immediate functional requirements. To exclude malfunctioning due to faulty elements, the reliability of all FPGA resources must be guaranteed. Since resource allocation takes place asynchronously, an online structural test scheme is the only way of ensuring reliable system operation. On the other hand, this test scheme should not disturb the operation of the circuit, otherwise availability would be compromised. System performance is also influenced by the efficiency of the management strategies that must be able to dynamically allocate enough resources when requested by each application. As those resources are allocated and later released, many small free resource blocks are created, which are left unused due to performance and routing restrictions. To avoid wasting logic resources, the FPGA logic space must be defragmented regularly. This paper presents a non-intrusive active replication procedure that supports the proposed test methodology and the implementation of defragmentation strategies, assuring both the availability of resources and their perfect working condition, without disturbing system operation.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 11 )