Master Thesis MSTR-3505

BibliographyZhang, Shihao: Delay Characterization in FPGA-based Reconfigurable Systems.
University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Information Technology, Master Thesis No. 3505 (2013).
69 pages, english.
CR-SchemaB.6.1 (Logic Design, Design Styles)
B.8.1 (Reliability, Testing, and Fault-Tolerance)

Runtime reconfigurable architectures accelerate the operation of a standard processor core by hardware accelerators implemented in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Partial runtime reconfiguration allows the hardware accelerators to efficiently adapt to different computational tasks dynamically. Nowadays, the FPGAs from major vendors, such as Xilinx and Altera, support this feature, including the Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA family which is the implementation platform of this work.

Manufactured at 28 nm scaled technological node or lower, concerns rise about the impact of aging-related failure mechanisms on the modern generations of FPGAs. To detect degradation in the reconfigurable gate arrays, dedicated on- and offline test methods must be employed in the field. Design for dependability requires that the degradation is detected and localized, so that the degraded logic elements will not be used as a first choice in the reconfiguration.

This thesis presents the development and the evaluation of a delay characterization method for FPGA CLBs which comprise most of the FPGA logic elements. The purpose of FPGA delay characterization method in this work is to detect and localize the delay variance. This delay variance information may be used for achieving a speed optimized reconfiguration for a FPGA-based runtime system. Different delay characterization methods have been studied in this thesis for determining a suitable method to be implemented in the partial reconfigurable system. The delay characterization is performed in a part of area in the FPGA before a module is placed in this area to avoid the degraded portion. This thesis uses low level hardware description language to generate the fine-grained measurement units which can cover the target area. VHDL is used to generate the test wrapper, control circuit, and the circuit for communicating between the FPGA and the workstation. Several measurement techniques are used to evaluate the accuracy of the delay characterization method. Additionally, this thesis evaluates the temperature influence on the delay characterization.

The results show that this delay characterization method can compare the speed of logic elements in the partial runtime reconfiguration area with high accuracy. The degradation can be detected and localized. The results also show that this method can be adapted to different size and location, fitting in the partial runtime reconfigurable design. Twelve configurations are required to have a full coverage of all the CLBs in the area under test.

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Department(s)University of Stuttgart, Institute of Architecture of Application Systems
Superviser(s)Imhof, Michael; Kochte, Micheal; Cervellera, Francesco
Entry dateMarch 11, 2014
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