DPGA-Coupled Microprocessors: Commodity ICs for the Early 21st Century

Article by André DeHon published in Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on FPGAs for Custom Computing Machines (FCCM'94), pp. 31--39, April, 1994.

During the past decade the microprocessor has become a key commodity component for building all kinds of computational systems. During this time frame large, reconfigurable logic arrays have exploited the same advances in IC fabrication technology to emerge as viable system building blocks. Looking at both the technology prospects and application requirements, there is compelling evidence that microprocessors with integrated reconfigurable logic arrays will be a primary building block for future computing systems. In this paper, we look at the role such components can play in building high-performance and economical systems, as well as the ripe technological outlook. We note how the tight integration of reconfigurable logic into the processor can overcome some of the major limitations of contemporary, attached reconfigurable compute engines. We specifically consider the use of integrated Dynamically Programmable Gate Array structures for the configurable logic and examine the advantages rapid reconfiguration provides in this application.