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An Evaluation of Dynamic Partial Reconfiguration for Signal and Image Processing in Professional Electronics Applications

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Abstract

Signal and image processing applications require a lot of computing resources. For low-volume applications like in professional electronics applications, FPGA are used in combination with DSP and GPP in order to reach the performances required by the product roadmaps. Nevertheless, FPGA designs are static, which raises a flexibility issue with new complex or software defined applications like software-defined radio (SDR). In this scope, dynamic partial reconfiguration (DPR) is used to bring a virtualization layer upon the static hardware of FPGA. During the last decade, DPR has been widely studied in academia. Nevertheless, there are very few real applications using it, and therefore, there is a lack of feedback providing relevant issues to address in order to improve its applicability. This paper evaluates the interest and limitations when using DPR in professional electronics applications and provides guidelines to improve its applicability. It makes a fair evaluation based on experiments made on a set of signal and image processing applications. It identifies the missing elements of the design flow to use DPR in professional electronics applications. Finally, it introduces a fast reconfiguration manager providing an 84-time improvement compared to the vendor solution.

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Correspondence to Philippe Manet.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Electronic Circuit
  • Relevant Issue
  • Full Article
  • Design Flow
  • Publisher Note