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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

2006 USENIX Annual Technical Conference Abstract

Pp. 315–327 of the Proceedings

System- and Application-level Support for Runtime Hardware Reconfiguration on SoC Platforms

Dimitris Syrivelis and Spyros Lalis, University of Thessaly, Hellas


This paper discusses the design and implementation of a system-level mechanism and corresponding application-level support that enables programs running on a reconfigurable SoC to modify the underlying FPGA at runtime. Applications may request the addition and/or removal of softcore devices at any point in time. Requests are handled in a coordinated way via a separate user-level process that fetches the configuration bistream from an exernal server. System reconfiguration is implemented via a fast suspend-resume mechanism with support for dynamic softcore device address management to achieve flexible device placement on the reconfigurable fabric. Even though our approach does not rely on advanced (and expensive) hardware that supports dynamic partial reconfiguration, the obtained functionality is sufficient for a wide range of application scenarios.
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Last changed: 15 Sept. 2006 ch