Title page for ETD etd-12162008-095509

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Taylor, Daniel Kyle
Author's Email Address dktaylor@vt.edu
URN etd-12162008-095509
Title A Model-Based Approach to Reconfigurable Computing
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bohner, Shawn A. Committee Chair
Arthur, James D. Committee Member
Gracanin, Denis Committee Member
  • hardware abstractions
  • FPGA design
  • modeling environment
  • Model-based engineering
  • reconfigurable computing
Date of Defense 2008-12-05
Availability unrestricted
Throughout the history of software development, advances have been made that improve the ability of developers to create systems by enabling them to work closer to their application domain. These advances have given programmers higher level abstractions with which to reason about problems. A separation of concerns between logic and implementation allows for reuse of components, portability between implementation platforms, and higher productivity.

Parallels can be drawn between the challenges that the field of reconfigurable computing (RC) is facing today and what the field of software engineering has gone through in the past. Most RC work is done in low level hardware description languages (HDLs) at the circuit level. A large productivity gap exists between the ability of RC developers and the potential of the technology. The small number of RC experts is not enough to meet the demands for RC applications.

Model-based engineering principles provide a way to reason about RC devices at a higher level, allowing for greater productivity, reuse, and portability. Higher level abstractions allow developers to deal with larger and more complex systems. A modeling environment has been developed to aid users in creating models, storing, reusing and generating hardware implementation code for their system. This environment serves as a starting point to apply model-based techniques to the field of RC to tighten the productivity gap. Future work can build on this model-based framework to take advantage of the unique features of reconfigurable devices, optimize their performance, and further open the field to a wider audience.

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