Aiding the use of FPGAs in SDR
Read more about wires on demand in the 2007 ECE Annual Report: “Wires on Demand: aiding the use of FPGAs in SDR.”
An ECE computer engineering team, led by Cameron Patterson and Peter Athanas was recently awarded a patent for work improving the adaptability and efficiency of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). According to Patterson, “The difficult aspect of hardware reconfiguration is not creating the computational blocks, which are generally available from FPGA vendors and third parties, but linking the blocks in a manner that suits each application’s unique connectivity, bandwidth, and latency requirements.”
They start with a dynamic module library, and reconfigure the FPGA using reconfigurable partial bitstreams. A bitstream is the format used to send configuration data to an FPGA. This project, called Wires on Demand (WoD) “is based on the insight that reconfigurable hardware’s untapped strength is a just-in-time optimization of communication paths in datapath and multi-core architectures, providing global rather than just local optimization,” explains Patterson.