Report Number: CSL-TR-00-792
Institution: Stanford University, Computer Systems Laboratory
Title: Performance of Data-Intensive Algorithms on FPGAs in an
Author: Mencer, Oskar
Author: Morf, Martin
Author: Flynn, Michael J.
Date: February 2000
Abstract: Recently, we see academic and industrial efforts to
combine traditional computing environments with
reconfigurable logic. Each application, or part of an
application, has an optimal implementation within the
design space of microprocessors, reconfigurable logic,
and hardwired VLSI circuits. Programmability, Performance,
and Power are the major metrics that have to be taken
into account when deciding between the available technologies.
Performance advantages of FPGAs over processors for
specific applications have been shown in previous research.
We show the potential of current low-power FPGAs to
outperform current state-of-the-art processors in
Performance over Power by more than half an order of
magnitude. Programmability remains a tough issue.
As a starting point, we define a hardware object interface
in C++, PAM-Blox. PAM-Blox is an open, object-oriented
environment for programming FPGAs that encourages design
sharing and code reuse. PAM-Blox simplifies the creation
of optimized high-performance designs. Encouraging a
distributed effort to share hardware objects over the internet
in the spirit of open software, is a first step towards
improving the programmability of FPGAs.