Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs


John Hoffman

Publication Date



With dynamically and partially reconfigurable designs, it is necessary that the speed of the reconfiguration be accomplished in a time that is sufficiently small such that the operation of reconfiguration is not the limiting factor in the process. Therefore, the communication between the source of configuration and the configurable unit must be made as fast as possible. The aim of this work is to use an embedded controller internal to the FPGA to control the reconfiguration process and obtain the maximum speed at which reconfiguration can occur, with current FPGA technology. The use of Direct Memory Access (DMA) driven operations instead of the current arbitrated bus architectures yielded a 30% increase in the speed of reconfiguration compared to other methods such as OPB_HWICAP and PLB_HWICAP [1]. The use of interrupt driven partial reconfiguration was also introduced, allowing the processor to switch to other tasks during the reconfiguration operation. All of these contributions lead to significant performance improvements over current partial reconfiguration subsystems. The configuration controller was tested using four partially reconfigurable system implementations: (i) one targeting the Hard IP PowerPC405 on Virtex-4, (ii) a second targeting the Soft IP MicroBlaze on Virtex-5, (iii) a third targeting the Hard IP PowerPC440 on Virtex-5, and (iv) a fourth system targets the Hard IP PowerPC440 on Virtex-5 capable of adaptive feedback. The adaptive feedback Virtex-5 system can use internal voltage and temperature measurements from the Xilinx System Monitor IP to dynamically increase or decrease the speed of reconfiguration and/or change other reconfigurable aspects of the system to better match the environment.


Field programmable gate arrays, Adaptive computing systems, Programmable array logic.



Document Type




Degree Name

Computer Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Plusquellic, James

Second Committee Member

Lyke, James