Self-Configurable FPGA-Based Computer Systems: Basics and Proof of Concept

: pp. 39 - 50

Viktor Melnyk

Computer systems performance is today improved with two major approaches: general-purpose computer computing power increase (creation of multicore processors, multiprocessor computer systems, supercomputers), and adaptation of the computer hardware to the executed algorithm (class of algorithms). The last approach often provides application of hardware accelerators – ASIC-based and FPGA-based, also named reconfigurable, and is characterized by better performance / power consumption ratio and lower cost as compared to the general-purpose computers of equivalent performance. However, such systems have typical problems. The ASIC-based accelerators: 1) they are effective only for certain classes of algorithms; 2) for effective application there is a need to adapt algorithms and software. The FPGA-based accelerators and reconfigurable computer systems (that use FPGAs as a processing units): 1) the need in the process of writing a program to perform computing tasks balancing among the general-purpose computer and FPGA; 2) the need of designing applicationspecific processors soft-cores; and 3) they are effective only for certain classes of problems, for which applicationspecific processors soft-cores were previously developed. This paper covers the scope of questions regarding concept of design, architecture, and proof of concept of the Self-Configurable FPGA-Based Computer Systems – an emerging type of high-performance computer systems, which are deprived of specified challenges. The method of information processing in reconfigurable computer systems and its improvements that allow an information processing efficiency to increase are shown. These improvements are used as a base for creating a new type of high-performance computer systems with reconfigurable logic, which are named self-configurable ones, and a new method of information processing in these systems. The structure of self-configurable FPGA-based computer system, the rules of application of computer software and hardware means necessary for these systems implementation are described. Major processes on the stages of program loading and execution in the self-configurable computer system are studied, and their durational characteristics are determined. On the basis of these characteristics, the expressions for evaluating the program execution duration in the self-configurable computer system are obtained. The directions for further works are discussed.

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