Enable++ : a second generation FPGA processor

Högl, Hubert ; Kugel, Andreas ; Ludvig, Jozsef ; Männer, Reinhard ; Noffz, Klaus-Henning ; Zoz, Ralf

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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/1754
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-17549
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 1995
The title of a journal, publication series: None
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Business Informatics and Mathematics > Sonstige - Fakultät für Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsmathematik
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen der Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik > Institut für Informatik > Technical Reports
Subject: 004 Computer science, internet
Subject headings (SWD): ENABLE 2.0 , Field programmable gate array
Abstract: In the computing community field programmable processors are going to fill the niche for special purpose computing devices. A typical example is ultra-fast pattern recognition in experimental particle physics - a task for which we constructed two years ago Enable- 1, an FPGA processor rather specialized for pattern recognition algorithms in μs domain, but also provided with modest features for coping with more general applications. This paper presents the follow-up modell Enable++, a 2nd generation FPGA processor that offers several substantial enhancements over the previous system for a wider range of applications: Enable++ is structured into three different state-of-the-art modules for providing computing power, flexible and high-speed I/O communication and powerful intermodule communication with a raw bandwidth of 3.2 GByte/s by an active backplane. The technical realization of all three modules is guided by the maximum usage of field programmable logic. The actual demand of computing-and I/O-power can be satisified by the number of modules plugged into the crate. Enhanced features of Enable++ comprise the configurable processor topology provided by programmable crossbar switches. In combination with the 4 x 4 FPGA array and 12 MByte distributed RAM the Enable++ computing core offers a strongly increased and scalable computing power. For building new applications the system offers a comfortable programming and debugging environment consisting of a compiler for the C-like hardware description language spC, a simulator and a source level debugger for hardware design. The goal in planning the hardware design environment for Enable++ from scratch is to transfer established methodologies in software design to the design of digital logic. Concerning pattern recognition tasks, we estimate that Enable++ surpasses modern RISC processors by a factor of 100 to 1000.
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