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Teaching Reconfigurable Systems by RAM-Based FSM Designing

[+] Author Affiliations
Binyamin Abramov, Vladimir Ostrovsky

Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ronen Poltek

Ruppin Academic Center, Tel Aviv, Israel

Paper No. ESDA2008-59098, pp. 581-586; 6 pages
  • ASME 2008 9th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis
  • Volume 3: Design; Tribology; Education
  • Haifa, Israel, July 7–9, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: International
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4837-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3827-7
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Reconfigurable systems have the potential to boost hardware performance, efficiency and to stimulate development activity by enabling designers to work with flexible “modeling clay”, rather than with fixed units of hardware. One of the design issues not widely covered in current Advanced Logic Design courses is the issue of reconfigurable systems design. The proposed pedagogical approach enables the achievement of reconfigurable electronic systems representations through Finite State Machine (FSM), and may be helpful for teaching disciplines, in subjects such as reconfigurable computing and advanced digital systems. The approach intends to cover topics such as architectures and capabilities of field-programmable logic devices; system specification, modelling, and synthesis of digital systems; design methodology; computer-aided design tools; reconfiguration techniques. FSMs are probably the most widely used control components in digital systems. The accepted FSM design methodology taught today is problem oriented, especially its combinatorial part. This approach makes changes to the design complicated and undesirable. In contrast, in the new suggested approach, the emphasis is on the automata behavior and not on its implementation logic. The result of this approach is a more flexible and less complicated design abilities that uplift the course to a more intense and focused levels while enabling at the same time to perform a larger amount of experiments, and enhance the students’ self-efficacy. The proposed design method for FSM implementation with both combinational part and state memory part is built primarily from RAM blocks. The basic components of the circuit are utilizing the FPGA’s RAM blocks, by reprogramming these one can provide for different functionality. The design procedure is automated by software shell that converts the FSM representation in Kiss2 format to a VHDL description that corresponds to the proposed architecture. This paper suggests methods for the design of a reconfigurable FSM to be used in Advanced Logic Design course, and deals with the following aspects: a) system formalization by high (behavioral) level of abstraction; b) RAM based FSM architecture; c) reusable templates d) software system for FSM static reconfiguration. In addition, the proposed approach enables non-hardware background people to be able to control algorithm representation as FSMs and it also provides an additional motivation for students since the reconfigurable systems concept may be linked to studies in other disciplines; and a dynamic reconfiguration is overviewed.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME
Topics: Design , Teaching



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