Dynamically-programmable gate arrays (DPGAs) promise lower-cost implementations than conventional field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) since they efficiently reuse limited hardware resources in time. One of the typical DPGA architectures is a multi-context FPGA (MC-FPGA) that requires multiple memory bits per configuration bit to realize fast context switching. However, this additional memory bits cause significant overhead in area and power consumption. This paper presents novel architecture of a switch element to overcome the required capacity of configuration memory. Our main idea is to exploit redundancy between different Contexts by using a fine-grained switch element. The proposed MC-FPGA is designed in a 0.18 μm CMOS technology. Its maximum clock frequency and the context switching frequency are measured to be 310 MHz and 272 MHz, respectively. Moreover, novel CAD process that exploits the redundancy in configuration data, is proposed to support the MC-FPGA architecture.
- Configuration data redundancy
- Dynamically-programmable gate array
- Multi-context FPGA