A Reconfigurable Architecture for Multi-Context Application
Manoel E. de Lima1, Remy E. Sant’Anna2, Abel G. Filho1, Abner Barros1, Paulo Guedes1, Julio A. Filho1, Raimundo Barreto1 and Claudianne Rabelo1
Abstract A reconfigurable computer presents the facility of changing functions according to the lacks of the application. Based on reconfigurable devices, this approach can reduce costs,especially in terms of hardware implementation. The developing of platforms with reconfigurable hardware and programmable control devices, can be used in several applications as in a hardware/software codesign approach, for small and large designs. This work describes an implementation of a multicontext system in a reconfigurable environment. The platform description is presented, as well as thereconfiguration method. A biological application has been developed using the proposed platform. Satisfactory results have been reached and are described in this paper. Key words: Reconfigurable Computing, FPGA, Microcontrollers,Hardware/Software Codesign, Biological Applications. This platform allows, into a hw/sw codesign methodology the rapid prototyping of digital systems in a single or multicontext approach. Chameleon’s functionality and the way a multi context design is implemented on it are presented. Particularly a biotechnology application focusing biosensors will be described in details as a case study. Such architectures and devices has been developed and applied in several areas such as image processing, digital signal processing, electronic, audio and video applications,biotechnology, and so on. In this paper, a brief description of Chameleon prototyping board architecture is presented in section 2. The proposed methodology and design flow for multicontext prototyping is covered at section 3. Section 4 describes the platform monitor program. A biological application, for monitoring a piezoelectric biosensor is presented as a case study in section 5 in order to demonstratethe methodology. Final conclusions are presented in section 6.
Traditional electronic computing presents two methods for the execution of algorithms. The first uses ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) to perform the operations in hardware. Once time it is developed for a specific computation, it’s very fast and efficient. However, cannot be modified for anotherapplication. This forces a re-design of a new chip, for a new functionality, in an expensive process. Software approaches present advantages such as flexibility and low cost for implementation of complex functions. However, it presents limitations, such as difficult to explore parallelism and high speed applications. These processes are implemented in devices such as microprocessors andmicrocontrollers. On the other hand, reconfigurable computing is intended to fill the gap between hardware and software, achieving potentially much higher performance than software, while maintaining a higher level of flexibility than hardware ,,. This work aims the prototyping of a multi context problem in a reconfigurable platform called Chameleon.
The Chameleon architecture comprises a prototyping board and CAD tools that help the designing and testing of digital systems. The basic prototyping board is composed of a software and a hardware component that share a common memory and a communication channel, as depicted in Figure 1. Software processes are executed in a low coast off-theshelf microcontroller, 8051-compatible family. It can run processes using anad hoc approach or yet using runtime kernels to provide more functionality to the system, e.g. the Tiny Real Time Operating System from Keil Inc , . The hardware processes are implemented on a single reconfigurable array element based on a subset of the XC4000 Xilinx Series . This subset can support circuits between 3000 to 13000 equivalent Xilinx gates, depending on the chip part...
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