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Tree Based Heterogeneous FPGA Architectures, Application Specific Exploration and Optimization

Umer Farooq 1 Zied Marrakchi 1 Habib Mehrez 1 
1 CIAN - Circuits Intégrés Numériques et Analogiques
LIP6 - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Paris 6
Abstract : Generalized and programmable nature of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) has made them a popular choice for the implementation of digital circuits. However, the programmability of FPGAs makes them larger, slower and more power consuming than their counterpart ASICs; hence making them unsuitable for applications requiring high density, performance and low power consumption. The main theme of this work is to improve the area of FPGAs. For this purpose, a detailed exploration and optimization of two FPGA architectures is performed: one is the well known mesh-based FPGA architecture while other is tree-based architecture that remains relatively unexplored despite its better performance and routing predictability. Further, a detailed comparison between the two architectures is also presented to highlight their respective advantages and disadvantages. The exploration and optimization of two architectures start with the introduction of heterogeneous hard-blocks in both architectures. In this work, first we present a new environment for exploration of tree-based heterogeneous FPGA architecture. This environment is flexible in nature and allows to explore different architecture techniques with varying types of hard-blocks. Further, in this work, we present an exploration environment for mesh-based heterogeneous FPGA architecture. The two environments are used to explore a number of techniques for both architectures. These techniques are later evaluated using different heterogeneous benchmarks that are placed and routed on the two architectures using a specifically developed software flow. A detailed comparison between different techniques of the two architectures is performed and results show that on average, tree-based architecture gives better overall results than mesh-based architecture. Generalized mesh and tree-based FPGA architectures are further improved by turning them into application specific FPGAs. An application specific inflexible FPGA (ASIF) is a modified FPGA with reduced flexibility and improved density. This work initially presents a new tree-based homogeneous ASIF and when compared to an equivalent tree-based FPGA, it gives 64% area gain. Further the comparison between equivalent mesh and tree-based ASIFs shows that tree-based ASIF gives 12% better area results than mesh-based ASIF. We also extend the ASIF to heterogeneous domain and experimental results show that, on average, tree-based heterogeneous ASIF gives 70% area gain when compared to equivalent tree-based heterogeneous FPGA. Further the comparison between heterogeneous mesh and tree-based ASIFs reveals that tree-based ASIF gives either equal or better results than mesh-based ASIF.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 3:20:31 PM
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Umer Farooq, Zied Marrakchi, Habib Mehrez. Tree Based Heterogeneous FPGA Architectures, Application Specific Exploration and Optimization. Springer, 2012, 978-1-4614-3593-8. ⟨10.1007/978-1-4614-3594-5⟩. ⟨hal-01272904⟩



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