JOURNAL OF COMPUTERS (JCP)
ISSN : 1796-203X
Volume : 2    Issue : 9    Date : November 2007

Partially Reconfigurable Vector Processor for Embedded Applications
Muhammad Z. Hasan and Sotirios G. Ziavras
Page(s): 60-66
Full Text:
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Abstract
Embedded systems normally involve a combination of hardware and software resources designed
to perform dedicated tasks. Such systems have widely crept into industrial control, automotive,
networking, and consumer products. These systems require efficient devices that occupy small
area and consume low power. The device area can be minimized by reusing the same hardware for
different applications. If possible, reconfiguring the hardware to adapt to the application needs is
important for reducing execution time and/or power consumption. Partial reconfiguration facilitates
minimum hardware changes to form a new configuration. We have designed a reconfigurable
vector processor for embedded applications. Benchmark results on Xilinx FPGAs (Field
Programmable Gate Arrays) are presented involving partial reconfiguration for embedded
applications that process vectors. Two approaches are studied toward performance evaluation. The
first one estimates the required partial reconfiguration time based on the resources consumed by
the corresponding vector kernels. The second approach uses the actual measurement of partial
reconfiguration time on a platform that supports a particular type of partial reconfiguration. More than
20% performance improvement has been observed for benchmark kernels, without neglecting the
reconfiguration overhead. A framework is proposed as well to efficiently manage the reconfiguration
overhead for applications involving multiple kernels.

Index Terms
vector processing, FPGA- reconfiguration, embedded applications