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An Overview of Reconfigurable Hardware in Embedded Systems

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Abstract

Over the past few years, the realm of embedded systems has expanded to include a wide variety of products, ranging from digital cameras, to sensor networks, to medical imaging systems. Consequently, engineers strive to create ever smaller and faster products, many of which have stringent power requirements. Coupled with increasing pressure to decrease costs and time-to-market, the design constraints of embedded systems pose a serious challenge to embedded systems designers. Reconfigurable hardware can provide a flexible and efficient platform for satisfying the area, performance, cost, and power requirements of many embedded systems. This article presents an overview of reconfigurable computing in embedded systems, in terms of benefits it can provide, how it has already been used, design issues, and hurdles that have slowed its adoption.

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