Open Access

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

  • Philippe Manet1Email author,
  • Daniel Maufroid2,
  • Leonardo Tosi3,
  • Gregory Gailliard2,
  • Olivier Mulertt5,
  • Marco Di Ciano4,
  • Jean-Didier Legat1,
  • Denis Aulagnier7,
  • Christian Gamrat8,
  • Raffaele Liberati9,
  • Vincenzo La Barba10,
  • Pol Cuvelier6,
  • Bertrand Rousseau1 and
  • Paul Gelineau2
EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20092008:367860

Received: 29 February 2008

Accepted: 3 November 2008

Published: 11 January 2009


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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Authors’ Affiliations

Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Thales Communications, Colombes, France
Tecnopolis CSATA, Valenzano Bari, Italy
MBDA, Le Plessis Robinson, France
Thales Communications, Tubize, Belgium
Aerospace Division, Thales, Brest, France
CEA LIST, CEN Saclay, Gif Sur Yvette, France
Thales Italia, Chieti Scalo, Italy


© Philippe Manet et al. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.