July 1, 2014, pages i-79.
At the time of publication, author Andrew Danowitz was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly
Modern mobile devices are marvels of computation. They can encode high defnition video, processing and compressing over 350MB/s of image data in real time. They have no trouble driving displays with as much resolution as a full laptop, and smartphone manufacturers boast of running games with "console quality" graphics. Mobile devices pack all of this computational power into a 12\ handheld package by integrating a number of specialized hardware accelerators (IP) along with conventional CPU and GPUs in a system on chip (SoC). Unfortunately, creating these specialized systems is becoming increasingly expensive. Since hardware accelerators come from a number of different sources and design cycles, different accelerator blocks will often contain incompatible hardware interfaces. Therefore, a large portion of SoC design cost comes in the form of designers manually interfacing each accelerator into a system. This work includes everything from building custom logic to wire up a block, to developing the drivers and API needed to take advantage of the hardware. My research focuses on generating these interfaces, including the physical hardware used to tie IP blocks into a system and the associated software collateral. Leveraging recent trends such as High Level Synthesis and other hardware "generator" methodologies, I propose an IP interface abstraction and parameterization designed to describe the interface of most current IP blocks. By encoding this knowledge at a higher level of abstraction, I am able to construct and demonstrate a hardware generator that maps an interface protocol description into synthesizable register transfer language (RTL), and that can automatically create hardware bridges between different interconnect standards. iv To ease the integration of the next generation of IP blocks-blocks that are automatically generated based of of user specification. I propose a set of interface primitives. \hen integrated into an IP generator, these primitives can automatically generate an interface that my interface system can tie to the rest of the system. I also demonstrate how the information stored in these types of primitives can be used to automatically generate a low level software driver that manages access to the IP blocks. Finally, I show how the simulation environment provided with an IP generator can be used to provide a domain appropriate application programming interface (API) to drive the software. Using an image signal processor generator as my platform, I demonstrate the construction of a map between the simulation software and hardware driver that enables a full one-button flow from algorithm development to applications running on specialized hardware within a working system.
2014 Danowitz. Published by Stanford University
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