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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Area and timing estimation for lookup table based FPGAs

  • Author(s): Xu, Min;
  • Kurdahi, Fadi
  • et al.

The importance of efficient area and timing estimation techniques is well-established in High-Level Synthesis (HLS), since it allows more efficient exploration of the design space while providing HLS tools with the capability of predicting the effects of technology-specific tools on the design space. Much of previous work has focused on estimation techniques that use very simple cost models based solely on the gate and/or literal count. Those models are not accurate enough to allow effective design space exploration since the effects of interconnect can indeed dominate the final design cost. The situation becomes even worse when the design is targeted to Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technologies since in most FPGA designs, the wire delay may contribute up to 60% of the overall design delay. In this paper, we present an approach of estimating area and timing for lookup table based FPGAs which uses a realistic model since it takes into account not only gate area and delay but also the wiring effects. We select Xilinx XC4000 series as our main concentration because of their popularity. Our approach is easy to adapt to other similar lookup table based FPGAs. We tested our estimator with several benchmarks and the results show that we can get accurate area and timing estimates efficiently.

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