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Fast and Flexible FPGA Development using Hierarchical Partial Reconfiguration

Dongjoon Park, Yuanlong Xiao, and André DeHon
Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Field-Programmable Technology, (FPT, December 5--December 9, 2022)



To address slow FPGA compilation, researchers have proposed to run separate compilations for smaller design components in parallel. This approach provides small pages on the FPGA, allowing users to separately generate partial designs on the pages and load them together. However, this method either forces users to manually decompose a design into small components that fit in small, fixed-sized pages or to use large, fixed-sized pages, reducing the potential compilation speedup benefits. This restriction often results in suboptimal decomposition of a design or diminishes productivity. To overcome these limitations, we utilize the recently supported Hierarchical Partial Reconfiguration technology from Xilinx to generate a more flexible framework. Depending on the size of user designs, our framework provides larger pages that are hierarchically recombined from multiple smaller pages. This flexibility relieves users of the burden to decompose the original design and offers more opportunities for design-space exploration. When tested on the ZCU102 embedded platform with the Rosetta HLS benchmarks, our system achieves 1.44.9 mapped application performance improvement compared to the system with fixed-sized pages while still compiling in 25 minutes (2.25.3 faster than the vendor tool).

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