Scholarly Communications Project

Verification and Configuration of a Run-time Reconfigurable Custom Computing Integrated Circuit for DSP Applications


Mark F. Cherbaka

Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Science


Electrical Engineering


Peter M. Athanas, Chair
A. Lynn Abbott
Joseph G. Tront

July 8, 1996
Blacksburg, Virginia


In recent years, interest in the area of custom computing machines (CCMs) has been on a steady increase. Much of the activity surrounding CCMs has centered around Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology and rapid prototyping applications. While higher performance has been a concern in some applications, the solutions are limited by the relatively small FPGA bandwidth, density and throughput. This leads to area, speed, power, and application-specific constraints. In recent months, an integrated circuit known as the VT Colt has been developed to address some high performance digital signal processing (DSP) problems that conventional processors, CCMs, and ASICs cannot do under the space and power constraints. The Colt chip takes a data-flow approach to processing and is highly reconfigurable to suit the many computationally demanding tasks that new DSP applications present. A significant portion of the development of the Colt chip is architectural justification, functional verification, and configurability. This thesis explores verification of the Colt chip at various levels of development including mapping arithmetic computations and DSP algorithms that the Colt architecture was designed to solve.

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