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Reprogrammable coprocessor project


The project's objectives are:
- To design a suitable interface and interconnect for integration of processor and co-processor on a single chip for both current and future generation transputers.
In the first instance work will be centred on developing a co-processor for the transputer macrocell developed in OMI-TMP, for high volume, low cost, embedded applications. On chip FPGA will form a useful prototyping facility and is expected to be economic for production runs up to around 5k units.
In a second workpackage, the FPGA co-processor integration will be more tightly coupled, as it will be integrated into the transputer architecture from design time.
- To produce a suitable software environment for ease of configuration and communication.
- Writing a simulator/emulator in order to model the interaction of processor and FPGA.
- To manufacture prototypes.
- Write application specific configuration code and create suitable libraries for identified applications.
- To evaluate the final implementations.
- To identify further applications for reconfigurable co-processors.

This project aims to explore the potential of exploiting Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology to produce reconfigurable co-processors. The intention is to design, manufacture and evaluate prototype chips to integrate a microprocessor and co-processor. It is hoped to demonstrate that an integrated microprocessor and FPGA, together with software tools, provide a flexible and efficient solution to computationally intensive problems where a specialised co-processor is needed. The reprogrammability of FPGA's also allows for rapid prototyping and ease of upgrade. Furthermore, programming the FPGA's can be easier by compiling configuration code from high level languages allowing problem specific hardware to be generated from a software process.

Integrating reconfigurable co-processors is a new idea which opens up all sorts of potential markets. There are potential applications in multi-media, automotive, image-processing, to name just a few. It is with this in mind that the project is intended to be application driven. This provides a definite focus in what is a very new field and ensures that the key developments are commercially relevant for all concerned.


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Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

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Inmos Ltd
1,000 Aztec West
BS12 4SQ Almondsbury
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

Aptor SA
61 Chemin Du Vieux Chêne
38244 Meylan
European CAD Developments Ltd
United Kingdom
Bagshot Road
RG12 3PH Bracknell
Ave. De La Grande Armee, 75
75116 Paris
Science Research Foundation
United Kingdom
10 Priory Road
BS8 1TX Bristol