FPGA Design Framework Combined with Commercial VLSI CAD

Qian ZHAO  Kazuki INOUE  Motoki AMAGASAKI  Masahiro IIDA  Morihiro KUGA  Toshinori SUEYOSHI  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E96-D   No.8   pp.1602-1612
Publication Date: 2013/08/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.E96.D.1602
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Reconfigurable Systems)
Category: Design Methodology
Keyword: 
FPGA,  CAD,  routing,  

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Summary: 
The most widely used open-source field programmable gate array (FPGA) placement and routing tool is the Versatile Packing, Placement and Routing (VPR) software developed at the University of Toronto, Canada. VPR calculates area and timing using target FPGA architecture and physical information. However, it cannot be used in FPGA IP design efficiently for two reasons. First, VPR cannot directly support most newly developed FPGA architectures, and modifying the C-coded VPR so that it can be used to evaluate a number of new architectures is time consuming. Second, the accuracy of the VPR performance results is inadequate for the evaluation of a complete FPGA IP in a design that targets the production of LSI. We propose an FPGA design framework that is focused on improving FPGA IP design efficiency. A novel FPGA routing tool is developed in this framework, namely the EasyRouter which uses the C# language. When an object-oriented programming method is used, there is less source code and it is easier to manage compared to VPR, thus shortening the development time. By using simple HDL code templates, EasyRouter can automatically generate the entire HDL code for a chip and the configuration bitstream. With these files, the FPGA IP can be evaluated with commercial VLSI CAD systems with high accuracy and reliability.