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Type: Theses
Title: Interconnect architectures for dynamically partially reconfigurable systems
Author: Bui, Thanh Thi Thanh
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Abstract: Dynamically partially reconfigurable FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) allow hardware modules to be placed and removed at runtime while other parts of the system keep working. With their potential benefits, they have been the topic of a great deal of research over the last decade. To exploit the partial reconfiguration capability of FPGAs, there is a need for efficient, dynamically adaptive communication infrastructure that automatically adapts as modules are added to and removed from the system. Many bus and network-on-chip (NoC) architectures have been proposed to exploit this capability on FPGA technology. However, few realizations have been reported in the public literature to demonstrate or compare their performance in real world applications. While partial reconfiguration can offer many benefits, it is still rarely exploited in practical applications. Few full realizations of partially reconfigurable systems in current FPGA technologies have been published. More application experiments are required to understand the benefits and limitations of implementing partially reconfigurable systems and to guide their further development. The motivation of this thesis is to fill this research gap by providing empirical evidence of the cost and benefits of different interconnect architectures. The results will provide a baseline for future research and will be directly useful for circuit designers who must make a well-reasoned choice between the alternatives. This thesis contains the results of experiments to compare different NoC and bus interconnect architectures for FPGA-based designs in general and dynamically partially reconfigurable systems. These two interconnect schemes are implemented and evaluated in terms of performance, area and power consumption using FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) andANN(Artificial Neural Network) systems as benchmarks. Conclusions drawn from these results include recommendations concerning the interconnect approach for different kinds of applications. It is found that a NoC provides much better performance than a single channel bus and similar performance to a multi-channel bus in both parallel and parallel-pipelined FFT systems. This suggests that a NoC is a better choice for systems with multiple simultaneous communications like the FFT. Bus-based interconnect achieves better performance and consume less area and power than NoCbased scheme for the fully-connected feed-forward NN system. This suggests buses are a better choice for systems that do not require many simultaneous communications or systems with broadcast communications like a fully-connected feed-forward NN. Results from the experiments with dynamic partial reconfiguration demonstrate that buses have the advantages of better resource utilization and smaller reconfiguration time and memory than NoCs. However, NoCs are more flexible and expansible. They have the advantage of placing almost all of the communication infrastructure in the dynamic reconfiguration region. This means that different applications running on the FPGA can use different interconnection strategies without the overhead of fixed bus resources in the static region. Another objective of the research is to examine the partial reconfiguration process and reconfiguration overhead with current FPGA technologies. Partial reconfiguration allows users to efficiently change the number of running PEs to choose an optimal powerperformance operating point at the minimum cost of reconfiguration. However, this brings drawbacks including resource utilization inefficiency, power consumption overhead and decrease in system operating frequency. The experimental results report a 50% of resource utilization inefficiency with a power consumption overhead of less than 5% and a decrease in frequency of up to 32% compared to a static implementation. The results also show that most of the drawbacks of partial reconfiguration implementation come from the restrictions and limitations of partial reconfiguration design flow. If these limitations can be addressed, partial reconfiguration should still be considered with its potential benefits.
Advisor: Phillips, Braden Jace
Liebelt, Michael J.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 2018
Keywords: FPGA
partial reconfiguration
interconnect architectures
neural networks
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at
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