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An FPGA architecture for DRAM-based systolic computations

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1 Author(s)
Margolus, N. ; Center for Comput. Sci., Boston Univ., MA, USA

We propose an FPGA chip architecture based on a conventional FPGA logic array core, in which I/O pins are clocked at a much higher rate than that of the logic array that they serve. Wide data paths within the chip are time multiplexed at the edge of the chip into much faster and narrower data paths that run off-chip. This kind of arrangement makes it possible to interface a relatively slow FPGA core with high speed memories and data streams, and is useful for many pin-limited FPGA applications. For efficient use of the highest bandwidth DRAMs, our proposed chip includes a RAMBUS DRAM interface, a burst-transfer controller, and burst buffers. This proposal is motivated by our work with virtual processor cellular automata (CA) machines-a kind of SIMD computer. Our next generation of CA machines requires reconfigurable FPGA-like processors coupled to the highest speed DRAMs and SRAMs available. Unfortunately, no current FPGA chips have appropriate DRAM I/O support or the speed needed to easily interface with pipelined SRAMs. The chips proposed would make a wide range of large-scale CA simulations of 3D physical systems practical and economical-simulations that are currently well beyond the reach of any existing computer. These chips would also be well suited to a broad range of other simulation, graphics and DSP-like applications

Published in:

Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines, 1997. Proceedings., The 5th Annual IEEE Symposium on

Date of Conference:

16-18 Apr 1997