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Title: Variation-aware high-level DSP circuit design optimisation framework for FPGAs
Author: Policarpo Duarte, Rui
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 9698
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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The constant technology shrinking and the increasing demand for systems that operate under different power profiles with the maximum performance, have motivated the work in this thesis. Modern design tools that target FPGA devices take a conservative approach in the estimation of the maximum performance that can be achieved by a design when it is placed on a device, accounting for any variability in the fabrication process of the device. The work presented here takes a new view on the performance improvement of DSP designs by pushing them into the error-prone regime, as defined by the synthesis tools, and by investigating methodologies that reduce the impact of timing errors at the output of the system. In this work two novel error reduction techniques are proposed to address this problem. One is based on reduced-precision redundancy and the other on an error optimisation framework that uses information from a prior characterisation of the device. The first one is a generic architecture that is appended to existing arithmetic operators. The second defines the high-level parameters of the algorithm without using extra resources. Both of these methods allow to achieve graceful degradation whilst variation increases. A comparison of the new methods is laid against the existing methodologies, and conclusions drawn on the tradeoffs between their cost, in terms of resources and errors, and their benefits in terms of throughput. In some cases it is possible to double the performance of the design while still producing valid results.
Supervisor: Bouganis, Christos-Savvas Sponsor: Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral