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Scalable DSP algorithms for high performance hardware applied to 5G MaMi systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SAPHIR (Scalable DSP algorithms for high performance hardware applied to 5G MaMi systems)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2020-05-31

In modern telecommunication systems, the digital baseband processing unit (or digital signal processor – DSP) is of paramount importance for the overall performance and it consumes a significant part of the total power. The goal of this project was to replace power-hungry traditional digital baseband processors by employing new methodologies and techniques, which emerged in the development of quantum algorithms for scientific computing, for obtaining efficient hardware implementations.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled a transformative and disruptive change across industries and society, catalyzing an entirely new economic model. The networked society promises to deliver growth and prosperity based on greater social cohesion and environmental sustainability. The current communication industry, supported by the European Union, is starting to deploy 5G systems. However, insufficient attention is paid to the amount of energy these systems may consume. Without increasing the energy efficiency, the total electricity consumption of the telecom industry is estimated to be responsible for a substantial amount of the global electricity consumption by 2040.

Replacing power hungry digital baseband processors requires a methodology for identifying critical parts that can be improved and efficient algorithms for carrying out the tasks of the critical parts. In earlier work, we developed such a methodology and techniques to derive efficient quantum algorithms for scientific computing. The scientific challenge is to export the benefits of quantum computation to custom digital hardware that implements the baseband processing in telecommunication systems. This requires algorithms derived using simple, or elementary, operations for increased efficiency. Their implementation in mobile and embedded systems requires fixed precision arithmetic satisfying the accuracy and efficiency targets. Possibly new algorithms have to be designed and combined with others to form a digital library for DSP. An additional goal is to have a priori available accuracy and cost estimates for the individual algorithms so they can be combined conveniently for deriving the overall DSP performance. Obtaining an efficient DSP block for an RF Pulse Width Modulation (RF-PWM) is sought as part of the development of high performance DSP for 5G MaMI systems, which is an IFAT strategic aim.
We have obtained a method for deriving an analytic trade-off between energy efficiency, complexity and signal quality, for the complete DSP chain. We have applied this method to study the digital signal processor (DSP) of an RF Pulse Width Modulation (RF-PWM) transmitter and we identified points for improvement. We derived new algorithms for improving the performance of DSP blocks. We have shown performance guarantees in terms of their accuracy and cost. We implemented them, in software and hardware, and carried out tests illustrating their performance. The algorithms are scalable and come in variants aiming at satisfying different performance constraints. We provide a methodology for designing DSP blocks using a modular approach. We use templates to represent the different modules. We have formed a library of modules for constructing telecommunication system DSP blocks. The library contains functions based on our new algorithms as well as additional functions, a number of which are based on more than one algorithm. All the library functions are implemented in fixed precision using only simple arithmetic operations, register shifts and bit operations. We incorporate them in the programs by instantiating the templates using specific values for their parameters. The modular approach makes the design of DSP blocks easy to maintain, customize and allows transparent updates and modifications. We used our algorithms to design the DSP block of the RF-PWM transmitter and implemented it in an FPGA. We have derived a design flow for communication system DSP blocks. Finally, our new algorithms have an impact in quantum computing. Indeed, it is not difficult to convert the newly derived algorithms to quantum algorithms and circuits.

We have obtained the following results:

• A method for the determination of an analytic trade-off between energy efficiency, complexity and signal quality, for the complete DSP chain
• Determination that algorithms computing inverse trigonometric play a key role in the DSP of the RF-PWM transmitter and that existing algorithms were not adequate. New algorithms would be necessary
• Design algorithms, derive their accuracy, and cost analytically for the selected RF-PWM DSP block
• Derive new scalable and efficient algorithms for inverse trigonometric functions that are critical for the RF-PWM DSP block
• Obtain digital libraries (in Matlab and Verilog) that include modules for building DSP blocks as well as the entire DSP block for the RF-PWM transmitter
• Implementation of the DSP bock of the RF-PWM transmitter on an FPGA
• Obtain a seamless design flow for DSP blocks
• Show a sequence of successively refined steps combined with a modular approach, where modules rely only on input and output register sizes for their combination. This leads to a seamless design flow for DSP blocks and their hardware implementation.

The work in SAPHIR has resulted in two papers, an MS Thesis, 6 presentations at seminars/workshops and 5 further workshops to communicate the Idea behind Saphir and the MSCA Fellowship. The researcher had been working in the US until the commencement of this project. The project has provided him with valuable knowledge enhancing his future career potential and to reintegrate in Europe. IFAT has extended the researcher’s contract beyond the end of this project. IFAT is a leading semiconductor company. The results of this project will be used in the ongoing and future development of its portfolio of transmitters and wireless infrastructure and further projects.
Replacing the power-hungry traditional telecommunication Digital Baseband Processors will make the world greener. Currently the communication industry, supported by the European Union, is starting to deploy 5G systems. However, insufficient attention is paid to the amount of energy these systems may consume. Without increasing the energy efficiency, the total electricity consumption of the telecom industry is estimated to be responsible for a substantial amount of the global electricity consumption by 2040.

The project contributes to new product development and to business and service opportunities, since 5G telecommunication systems are rapidly expanding and this will continue with an increased rate. There will be a contribution to job and wealth creation, in general, and to Europe in particular.
With the dissemination and communication work done within this project, an awareness was created for the Marie Curie Program and the opportunities it offers for researcher and industry. Also it can help to bring scientific skills, experience and knowledge back to Europe and concentrate further developments and technological leadership within the European Union. For the researcher it offers new, successful opportunities in their career.
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