Author(s): Mak T, Sedcole P, Cheung P, Luk W
Abstract: On-FPGA communication is becoming more problematic as the long interconnection performance is deteriorating in technology scaling. In this paper, we address this issue by proposing a novel wave-pipelined signaling scheme to achieve substantial throughput improvement in FPGAs. A new analytical model capturing the electrical characteristics in FPGA interconnects is presented. Based on the model, throughput and power consumption of a wave-pipelined link have been derived analytically and compared to the conventional synchronous links. Two circuit designs are proposed to realize wave-pipelined link using FPGA fabrics. The proposed approaches are also compared with conventional synchronous and asynchronous pipelining techniques. It is shown that the wave-pipelined approach can achieve up to 5.7 times improvement in throughput and 13% improvement in power consumption versus conventional delay-based on-chip communication schemes. Also, trade-offs between power, throughput and area consumption between the proposed and conventional designs are studied. The wave-pipelining approach provides a new alternative for on-FPGA communications and can potentially become a promising solution to mitigate the future interconnect scaling challenge.