The idea of dynamically reconfiguring programmable devices fascinated Turing in the 1930’s. In the early 90’s, DeHon pioneered dynamic reconfiguration within FPGAs, but neither his nor numerous subsequent efforts, both academic and industrial, resulted in a useful and usable product. Over the last several years, we have significantly advanced the hardware, architecture, and software for rapidly reconfiguring, programmable logic: going beyond the FPGA using a body of technology we call “Spacetime”. Spacetime represents two spatial dimensions and one time dimension as a unified 3D framework: a powerful simplification that has enabled us to deliver in production a new category of programmable devices (“3PLDs”) that are far denser, faster, and more capable than FPGAs yet still accompanied by software that automatically maps traditional RTL onto these exotic fabrics. In developing Spacetime, we encountered and resolved many complex, technical challenges that any dense and high-performance reconfigurable device must face, many of which seem never even to have been identified, much less addressed, by any prior effort. In this talk, I will identify some key limitations of FPGAs, introduce Spacetime as a means of addressing them, enumerate some of the many challenges we faced, and present solutions to a couple of them.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Free and open to the public