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Reconfigurable Computing for Embedded Systems, FPGA Devices and Software Components

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Conference paper

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In recent years the size and capabilities of field-programmable gate array FPGA devices have increased to a point where they can be deployed as adjunct processing elements within a multicomputer environment. This enables these devices to become an element within a reconfigurable system performing processing of high data rate streams of data. Conventionally, these devices have performed basically fixed-function processing at the input to a system. However, through the use of component-based programming models, it is possible to view these devices as general-purpose processing accelerators where the need arises within a system. A common approach to using FPGA devices in systems at present is based on the use of a dedicated driver or software proxy mechanism. The driver or proxy is responsible for controlling the flow of data between the FPGA and other elements within the system. This approach works, but often the driver or proxy requires intimate knowledge of the algorithm running within the FPGA device. As the drive toward reconfigurable computing platforms continues, the need for a standardized middleware that can be implemented and supported on all forms of processing elements increases. Through the use of such a middleware it would be possible to interface any form of processing element, including microprocessors, digital signal processors DSPs, FPGAs and even application specific signal processors ASSPs and application specific integrated circuits ASICs. The middleware would define the mechanism by which data would be transferred between processing elements and the associated signaling necessary to ensure data integrity within the system.

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  • Computer Programming and Software

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