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A Fully Pipelined and Dynamically Composable Architecture of CGRA (Coarse Grained Reconfigurable Architecture)


Future processor will not be limited by the transistor resources, but will be mainly constrained by energy efficiency. Reconfigurable architecture offers higher energy efficiency than CPUs through customized hardware and more flexibility than ASICs. FPGAs allow configurability at bit level to keep both efficiency and flexibility. However, in many computation-intensive applications, only word level customizations are necessary, which inspires coarse-grained reconfigurable arrays(CGRAs) to raise configurability to word level and to reduce configuration information, and to enable on-the-fly customization. Traditional CGRAs are designed in the era when transistor resources are scarce. Previous work in CGRAs share hardware resources among different operations via modulo scheduling and time multiplexing processing elements. In the emerging scenario where transistor resources are rich, we develop a novel CGRA architecture that features full pipelining and dynamic composition to improve energy efficiency and implement the prototype on Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA board. Experiments show that fully pipelined and dynamically composable architecture(FPCA) can exploit the energy benefits of customization for user applications when the transistor resources are rich.

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