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Title: Circuit design and analysis for on-FPGA communication systems
Author: Mak, Terrence Sui-Tung
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 2964
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2010
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On-chip communication system has emerged as a prominently important subject in Very-Large- Scale-Integration (VLSI) design, as the trend of technology scaling favours logics more than interconnects. Interconnects often dictates the system performance, and, therefore, research for new methodologies and system architectures that deliver high-performance communication services across the chip is mandatory. The interconnect challenge is exacerbated in Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), as a type of ASIC where the hardware can be programmed post-fabrication. Communication across an FPGA will be deteriorating as a result of interconnect scaling. The programmable fabrics, switches and the specific routing architecture also introduce additional latency and bandwidth degradation further hindering intra-chip communication performance. Past research efforts mainly focused on optimizing logic elements and functional units in FPGAs. Communication with programmable interconnect received little attention and is inadequately understood. This thesis is among the first to research on-chip communication systems that are built on top of programmable fabrics and proposes methodologies to maximize the interconnect throughput performance. There are three major contributions in this thesis: (i) an analysis of on-chip interconnect fringing, which degrades the bandwidth of communication channels due to routing congestions in reconfigurable architectures; (ii) a new analogue wave signalling scheme that significantly improves the interconnect throughput by exploiting the fundamental electrical characteristics of the reconfigurable interconnect structures. This new scheme can potentially mitigate the interconnect scaling challenges. (iii) a novel Dynamic Programming (DP)-network to provide adaptive routing in network-on-chip (NoC) systems. The DP-network architecture performs runtime optimization for route planning and dynamic routing which, effectively utilizes the in-silicon bandwidth. This thesis explores a new horizon in reconfigurable system design, in which new methodologies and concepts are proposed to enhance the on-FPGA communication throughput performance that is of vital importance in new technology processes.
Supervisor: Luk, Wayne Sponsor: Croucher Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral