Reconfigurable fpgas for space present and future
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
Sponsored Links
1 / 20

Reconfigurable FPGAs for Space – Present and Future PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Reconfigurable FPGAs for Space – Present and Future. Rick Padovani Xilinx, Inc. MAPLD 2005. Abstract.

Download Presentation

Reconfigurable FPGAs for Space – Present and Future

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Reconfigurable fpgas for space present and future

Reconfigurable FPGAs for Space – Present and Future

Rick Padovani

Xilinx, Inc.

MAPLD 2005



The capability to implement reconfigurable digital systems based on FPGA technology is a reality today. Reconfigurability is defined in a continuum ranging from rapid design development, post-deployment hardware modifications, through to runtime reconfiguration for processing and computing. In addition, designer are increasingly looking to FPGA-based computing as performance improvements of traditional Von Neuman processors begin to level off. These topics are of increasing interest to designers of Space-based systems.

Two emerging technologies, Rad Hard by Design (RHBD), and runtime Partial Reconfiguration (PR) will dramatically increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of using reconfigurable FPGAs in Space Applications. Today’s reconfigurable FPGAs are susceptible to Single-Event Effects (SEEs) which can corrupt the configuration memory and affect the user’s design. Reconfigurable FPGAs can be made virtually immune to SEEs through the use of Triple-Module Redundancy (TMR) and configuration memory scrubbing, although these techniques bring added PCB complexity and reduce the number of available logic cells. Efforts are underway to introduce RHBD FPGAs that will be immune to SEEs. FPGAs employing RHBD configuration memory will not require TMR or configuration memory scrubbing for protection against SEEs and will offer increased reconfigurable capability for field upgrades and runtime Partial Reconfiguration (PR).

Runtime PR offers a means for changing design modules on-the-fly, while the “base” design continues to operate uninterrupted. This allows multiple design modules to time-share the same physical silicon resources, thereby reducing device resource utilization, device count, and power consumption.

Partial Reconfiguration is available today, and will become increasingly important for space-based systems where PCB footprint, mass, and power consumption are of even greater concern. This paper will review the present and future state of commercial process technology, reconfigurable FPGA architecture, FPGAs for Space, and the benefits offered by PR and RHBD.



  • The current state of commercial process technology and FPGA architecture

  • Computing and the Future

  • Reconfiguration use models

  • Partial Reconfiguration

  • FPGAs for Space-based applications

  • Rad Hard by Design Development

  • Conclusions

Moore s law continues fueling reprogrammable fpga advances

Moore’s Law Continues Fueling Reprogrammable FPGA Advances


FPGA Product



FPGA Product


  • Future

  • Process Technology

    • Plan continuation of 2 year Technology node cycle

    • “Traditional Scaling” is starting to be effected by the fundamental material limits of the planar CMOS process

    • “Equivalent Scaling” or the assimilation of new materials, structures and functional integration will drive continued scaling

180 nm

150 nm

130 nm

90 nm

65 nm

45 nm

32 nm

22 nm

8 nm

1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017

Architectural evolution reconfigurable fpgas

Architectural EvolutionReconfigurable FPGAs

Programmable “System in a Package”

Domain-optimized System Logic



  • FPGA Fabric

  • Block RAM

  • Embedded Registers and Multipliers

  • Clock Management

  • Multi-standard Programmable IO

  • Embedded Microprocessor

  • Multigigabit Transceivers

  • Embedded DSP-optimized Multiplers

  • Embedded Ethernet MACs

Device Complexity and Performance



  • FPGA Fabric

  • Block RAM

  • Embedded Registers and Multipliers

  • Clock Management

  • Multi-standard Programmable IO

  • Embedded Microprocessor

  • Multigigabit Transceivers



  • FPGA Fabric

  • Block RAM

  • Embedded Registers and Multipliers

  • Clock Management

  • Multi-standard Programmable IO



  • FPGA Fabric

  • Block RAM

  • FPGA Fabric







Are von neumann processors running out of steam

Are Von Neumann processors running out of steam?

  • Lack of increased clock speed is being addressed by:

    • Increased cache size

    • Longer pipelines

    • Trying to do more per cycle

  • This approach also nearing its limit

Clock Speed

Compute Density of Processors

Source: UC Berkeley HERC and

What s next for computing platforms

What’s next for Computing Platforms?

  • Hyperthreading?

  • Clusters?

  • Configurable instruction sets?

  • Configurable coprocessors?

    In general, the need for parallel execution is now

    recognized as a requirement, as is the desire for

    customizable instruction sets

Reconfigurable fpgas to the rescue

Reconfigurable FPGAs to the rescue

  • For at least 15 years people have seen the Von Neumann limitations and have argued that FPGAs were the ultimate supercomputer

    • Better programmability – not stuck with a fixed ALU

    • Parallel processing – not just hyperthreading but limitless opportunities for parallelism

    • No wasted cost on features that you don’t need

  • Some traction over the years, but very limited

    • Numerous chess-playing machines from Deep Thought to Hydra

    • Craig Venter used Xilinx chips for the Human Genome project

    • Other people are using Xilinx chips for Bioinformatics

    • Cray, SGI and others have been using FPGAs as coprocessors to offload certain operations

    • Berkeley Emulation Engine is a recent example

    • Numerous companies represented in the consortium have been extolling the virtues of FPGA computing for a long time

Raw processing performance characteristics and comparisons

Raw Processing Performance Characteristics and Comparisons

Three axes of performance

  • Computational capability

  • Memory Bandwidth

  • IO Bandwidth

Why has adoption taken so long

Why has adoption taken so long?

  • Traction has been limited by programming model

    • Direct C translation to gates

      • Definite progress in development and productization

      • Limited customer acceptance in the supercomputer market but picture may be changes

    • Direct HDL design

      • Difficult to implement current applications of supercomputing in HDL

      • Need for high connectivity lowers performance

        To date, the only model in widespread use for supercomputing-type applications is HDL

New use models enabled with reconfigurable fpgas

New use models enabled with Reconfigurable FPGAs

  • More efficient use of hardware

    • Adaptive hardware algorithms

    • Design modules that time share device resources

      • Reduced device count and lower power consumption

Spectrum of Reconfiguration





Field UpgradesRapid Design Data Processing Networking Signal Processing

Fpga partial reconfiguration

User Logic Layer

Configuration Memory Layer

FPGA Partial Reconfiguration

  • Think of an FPGA as Two Layers

    • Configuration Memory Layer

    • User Logic Layer

  • Configuration memory controls functions on user logic layer

  • Partial Reconfiguration allows a portion of device to be changed while the rest is still running

  • Documented in XAPP 290

  • What FPGA Configuration Memory Controls

  • All interconnection (wiring)

  • Logic Definition (Look-up Tables or “LUTs”)

  • Multiply by, divide by, etc.

  • Inversion

  • Feature selection

  • Interface to hardwired blocks, e.g. PPC

  • Pipeline on/off

  • ECC enable/disable

  • BRAM width

  • I/O Modes

    • >really EVERYTHING!

Partial reconfiguration modules prms


PR Region A

PR Region B







Partial Reconfiguration Modules (PRMs)

  • One or more PR regions can be defined

  • Multiple PRMs can be defined for each region

Reconfigurable fpgas for space product development strategies present and future

Reconfigurable FPGAs for Space Product Development Strategies – Present and Future

  • Exploit inherent TID hardness of advanced commercial processes

  • SEL immunity achieved with epitaxial layer on P+ substrate, multiple substrate taps and lower core voltage

  • SEE hardness will improved with RadHard by Design techniques:

Reconfigurable fpgas for space present and future

FPGA Radiation ToleranceTID Trends vs Product/Technology

  • 350nm - XQ4000XL

    • 60K Rads (Si)

  • 220nm - XQVR (Virtex)

    • 100K Rads (Si)

  • 150nm - XQR2V (Virtex-II)

    • 200K Rads (Si)

  • 130nm - XQR2VP

    • 250K Rads (Si)

  • 90nm (Preliminary)

    • 300K Rad (Si)

TID tolerance of Military-grade FPGAs with full production test:

  • Process trends*:

  • Gate oxide continues to thin

  • Oxide tunnel currents increase

  • Gate stress voltage decreases


DESIGN METHODOLOGIES” by Ron Lacoe, Aerospace Corp

2003 IEEE NSREC Short Course 2003

Applied mitigation tmr scrubbing



Applied MitigationTMR + Scrubbing

  • Single FPGA with TMR and Configuration Scrubbing

    • Continuous, uninterrupted operation (except SEFI)

    • Can employ readback for error detection

    • Scrub controller detects and handles SEFIs

    • Critical data processing applications (Communications, Navigation)

FPGA can manage its

own configuration scrubbing!




Xilinx tmr xtmr

Xilinx TMR(XTMR)



Reconfigurable fpgas for space present and future

Logic Capacity of Virtex Rad Tolerant FamiliesCurrent Virtex Families with TMR Mitigation vs. Future RHBD Families


Future RadHard

by Design Families

Current Virtex Families



Available Logic Cells (K)


Partial TMR

Effective Array Utilization Range

for a typical TMR Design


Full TMR


XQVR1000 XQR2V6000 XQR2VP70 SIRF 4V100

(Virtex) (Virtex-II) (Virtex-II pro) (Virtex-4 RHBD)

Reconfigurable fpgas for space present and future

RadHard by Design Program

SEU Immune Reconfigurable FPGA (SIRF)

  • Phase-I Test Chip

    • Vehicle to determine and prove hardening strategies for key architectural elements

    • Test Chip includes a range of design variants for each key element

    • Radiation Testing in 1Q06

  • Phase-2 Product Implementation

    • Optimal RHBD implementation of Virtex-4 architecture

    • Embedded hard core, e.g., PPC and MGT, hardening strategies evaluated during Phase-1 and current V-IIpro testing

Phase-1: Design Feasibility, Test Chip and Trade Study

Phase-2: SIRF Product Development and Fabrication



  • CMOS scaling will continue well into the next decade fueling reconfigurable FPGA architectural advances and system-level integration

  • The computing industry is trying to increase performance with parallel execution and reconfigurability today and this is clearly the way of the future

  • Performance of FPGAs as a compute platform exceed conventional processors in all three performance vectors; implementing an effective programming model is the main issue the industry is working hard to solve

  • Partial Reconfiguration capability is here today enabling new use models and software support tools are imminent

  • Rad Tolerant Reconfigurable FPGAs available today achieve virtual SEE immunity by applying Partial Reconfiguration and soft TMR techniques

  • Rad Hard by Design Reconfigurable FPGAs are under development and will offer a dramatic increase in available logic cells and radiation performance while freeing up reconfiguration resources for more efficient use of hardware, reconfigurable processing or computing applications

  • Login