Mario Khalaf and Ajay Jagtiani, Altera Corporation
EETimes (5/27/2011 6:10 PM EDT)
Here's a way to partially or fully reconfigure an FPGA without rebooting the operating system.
One of the biggest advantages of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) is the ability to change the functionality of the silicon by loading a new configuration file into the device. Controlling the configuration of the FPGA is usually done by an on-board processor that communicates to a flash-based configuration storage device.
The configuration mechanisms are usually custom to the specific FPGA and require specialized on-board connections and rules. Overall, the user usually embeds the flash device on-board forcing an estimate of the configuration size before storing all possible configuration streams of the FPGA on that device. In this article, we propose a device architecture and software method that alleviates this problem and also provides many advanced features to the processor.
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