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Title: Exploring networks-on-chip for FPGAs
Author: Francis, R. M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis looks at Network-on-Chip design for FPGAs beyond the trade-offs between hard (silicon) and soft (configurable) designs. FPGAs are capable of extremely flexible statically-routed bit-based wiring, but this flexibility comes at a high area, latency and power cost. In the first part of this thesis I explore the capability of Time-Division Multiplexed (TDM) wiring to bridge the gap between the fine-grain static FPGA wiring and the bust-based dynamic routing of a NoC. By replacing some of the static FPGA wiring with TDM wiring I am able to time division multiplex hard routers and make better use of the non-configurable area. The cost of a hard network is reduced by moving some of the area cost from the routers into reusable TDM wiring components. The TDM wiring improves the interface between the hard routers and soft IP blocks which leads to higher logic density overall. I show that TDM wiring makes hard routers a flexible and efficient alternative to soft interconnect. The second part of this thesis looks at the feasibility of replacing all static wiring on the FPGA with TDM wiring. The aim was to increase the routing capacity of the FPGA whilst decreasing the area used to implement it. An ECAD flow was developed to explore the extent to which the amount of wiring can be reduced. The results were then used to design the TDM circuitry. My results show that an 80% reduction in the amount of wiring is possible through time-division multiplexing. This reduction is sufficient to increase the routing capacity of the FPGA whilst maintaining similar or better logic density. This TDM wiring can be used to implement area-and power-efficient hard networks-on-chip with good flexibility, as well as improving the performance of other hard IP blocks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available