Design space exploration using HLS in relation to code structuring
Sammanfattning: High Level Synthesis (HLS) is a methodology to translate a model developed in a high abstraction layer, e.g. C/C++/SystemC, that describes the algorithm into a Register-Transfer level (RTL) description like Verilog or VHDL. The resulting RTL description from the translation is subject to multiple user-controlled directives and an internal design space exploration algorithm specific to the toolchain used. HLS allow designers to focus on the behaviour of the design at a higher abstraction compared to the behavioural modelling available within the Hardware Description Language (HDL) as the compiler decides the movement of data and timing in the resulting design. Ericsson uses a legacy Advanced Peripheral Bus (APB) like interface called Memory/Register Interface (MIRI) interface for data movement in a subsystem of one of their Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). The thesis attempts to upgrade the protocol to the more performant ARM Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture (AMBA) protocols’ Advanced High-performance Bus (AHB) or Advanced eXtensible Interface (AXI) interfaces. SystemC provides a host of functionalities to define the complete behaviour of the circuit at a high level of abstraction. This thesis will explore the effect of the structuring SystemC models on their synthesis, and perform design space exploration to understand the best design methodology to adopt in a SystemC model design and compare the models based on the final synthesis metrics like area, timing, and register counts. The toolchain for the thesis will be the Stratus HLS compiler developed by Cadence. Stratus supports all synthesizable constructs of SystemC. Most HLS research focuses on improving Design Space Exploration algorithms used internally in the HLS tools. However, designers can utilize algorithm structuring to provide the HLS engines with a better starting point. In this thesis, the Stratus toolchain will be used to experiment with different models with equivalent behaviour and performance. Thereafter, extract which constructs used in the models are optimal for allowing the internal design space exploration algorithm to perform in the best way possible.
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