Method and implementation of multi-channel correlation in the hybrid CPU+FPGA system

Leonov, Maxim
Kitaev, Slava
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Master of Engineering
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Auckland University of Technology

Modern high-performance digital signal processing (DSP) applications face constantly increasing performance requirements and are becoming increasingly challenging to develop and work with. In DSP paradigm, many researchers see potential in achieving algorithm speed-up by employing Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) – reconfigurable hardware with parallelism feature. However, developing applications for FPGAs incur particular challenges on the development flow. This work proposes a scalable hybrid DSP system for performing high-performance signal processing applications. The system employs hybrid CPU + FPGA architecture of commercially available, off-the-shelf (COTS) FPGAs and central processing units (CPU) of personal computers. In this work an example implementation of a multi-channel cross-correlator is investigated and delivered using a new development paradigm. The correlator is implemented on the XD1000 development system using a high-level FPGA programming tool – Impulse CoDeveloper. Analysis of DSP application development in a hybrid CPU+FPGA system employing the high-level programming tool Impulse C is presented. Potential of the selected tool to deliver algorithm speed-ups is investigated using reference multi-channel correlator software. Particular attention is devoted to input/output (I/O) implementation, which is considered one of the most challenging problems in FPGA design development. This work delivers an I/O framework based on PCI Express interface for the proposed high-performance scalable DSP system. Using Stratix II GX PCI Express Development Board from Altera Corporation, a scalable and flexible communication approach for the multi-channel correlator is delivered. This framework can be adapted to perform other high-performance streaming DSP applications. The outcomes of this work are a multi-channel correlator developed in a reconfigurable environment with new design methodology and I/O framework with software control application. The outcomes are used to demonstrate the potential of implementing DSP applications in hybrid CPU + FPGA architecture and to discuss existing challenges and suggest possible solutions.

High performance reconfigurable computing , FPGA , DSP , C to HDL , Correlation
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