Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Engineering (MSCmpE)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Computer Science & Computer Engineering

Advisor

David Andrews

Committee Member

Miaoqing Huang

Second Committee Member

Christophe Bobda

Keywords

Applied sciences; FPGA; Memory hierarchy; Multiprocessor; Reconfigurable computing

Abstract

Memory Hierarchy is of growing importance in system design today. As Moore's Law allows system designers to include more processors within their designs, data locality becomes a priority. Traditional multiprocessor systems on chip (MPSoC) experience difficulty scaling as the quantity of processors increases. This challenge is common behavior of memory accesses in a shared memory environment and causes a decrease in memory bandwidth as processor numbers increase. In order to provide the necessary levels of scalability, the computer architecture community has sought to decentralize memory accesses by distributing memory throughout the system. Distributed memory offers greater bandwidth due to decoupled access paths. Today's million gate Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) offer an invaluable opportunity to explore this type of memory hierarchy. FPGA vendors such as Xilinx provide dual-ported on-chip memory for decoupled access in addition to configurable sized memories. In this work, a new platform was created around the use of dual-ported SRAMs for distributed memory to explore the possible scalability of this form of memory hierarchy. However, developing distributed memory poses a tremendous challenge: supporting a linear address space that allows wide applicability to be achieved. Many have agreed that a linear address space eases the programmability of a system. Although the abstraction of disjointed memories via underlying architecture and/or new programming presents an advantage in exploring the possibilities of distributed memory, automatic data partitioning and migration remains a considerable challenge. In this research this challenge was dealt with by the inclusion of both a shared memory and distributed memory model. This research is vital because exposing the programmer to the underlying architecture while providing a linear address space results in desired standards of programmability and performance alike. In addition, standard shared memory programming models can be applied allowing the user to enjoy full scalable performance potential.

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