the past few years, there has been a boom in the computer industry. The processor
speed has jumped from 500 MHz to 4 GHz and is still increasing. High speed rams
and hard disks are becoming available. But people are always greedy and they always
want more. Experts are beginning to look for ways to accelerate the speed-up.
Every other day an expert wakes up and shouts something like DNA computing, stream
computing, just so computing etc. This seminar introduces Dynamically Reconfigurable
Computing which, unlike the above-mentioned computing, is much more viable in
the near future. This seminar also hopes to convince that the future of the proprietary
model is a big zero.
Reconfigurable Computing is the computing that uses Dynamically Reconfigurable
Logic. The latter is the logic that can be altered at run-time. Since both their
names are rather long, we will call them DRC and DRL from now on. Though DRC uses
DRL, anything that use DRL is not DRC. To be called a DRC, many more components
must be there, the most important among them being proper software that can drive
the logic. Without the software, a common man will be left with a non-reconfigurable
hardware that is both larger and somewhat slower than its traditional counterpart
(if even that - most of the time he will be left with just a piece of non-usable
hardware which he regrets).
obviously, application software must be there .A Dynamically Reconfigurable System
without application software is like a PC without a single piece of software in
it - both are wasted resources. Thus the hardware part and the software part combine
to make a DR Computing system. Now we will see why take all the trouble to make
and combine hardware and software that nobody is actually comfortable with. And
then we will see what are the "all the trouble ".
all the DRC systems today consist of FPGAs. System designers have always used
FPGAs for prototyping the design of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs).
When the design is finalized, FPGA is thrown away and the final product has no
FPGA part. When used in this way, the role of FPGA is just a placeholder. This
is not DRC. However, now some system designers choose to leave the FPGA part in
the production system. This has the advantage that the logic within the system
can changed even after the product has been shipped. For example, hardware upgrades
and bug fixes can be administrated as easily as their software counterparts. In
order to support a new version of the network protocol, the designer just have
to redesign the internal logic of the FPGA and send it to the customers by e-mail.
The customer can download the
new design to the system and restart it and la voilà - their system supports
the newest protocol, all without a single "hardware upgrade ".This is
Configurable Computing.DRC takes this to one step further. DRC involves manipulation
of logic inside FPGA (DRL)at run-time. ie, the design of the hardware changes
in response to the demands placed upon the system at run-time. What a CPU do to
software, DRC do to hardware.
This means that FPGA acts as an execution engine
for a number of different hardware functions. These hardware functions can execute
in a parallel or serial fashion.
Reconfigurable Computing allows the system to execute more hardware functions
than it has gates to fit. This is excellent since many parts of the system will
idle most of the time.
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