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Evaluation of soft-core processors on a Xilinx Virtex-5 field programmable gate array.

Description: Node-based architecture (NBA) designs for future satellite projects hold the promise of decreasing system development time and costs, size, weight, and power and positioning the laboratory to address other emerging mission opportunities quickly. Reconfigurable field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based modules will comprise the core of several of the NBA nodes. Microprocessing capabilities will be necessary with varying degrees of mission-specific performance requirements on these nodes. To enable the flexibility of these reconfigurable nodes, it is advantageous to incorporate the microprocessor into the FPGA itself, either as a hard-core processor built into the FPGA or as a soft-core processor built out of FPGA elements. This document describes the evaluation of three reconfigurable FPGA-based soft-core processors for use in future NBA systems: the MicroBlaze (uB), the open-source Leon3, and the licensed Leon3. Two standard performance benchmark applications were developed for each processor. The first, Dhrystone, is a fixed-point operation metric. The second, Whetstone, is a floating-point operation metric. Several trials were run at varying code locations, loop counts, processor speeds, and cache configurations. FPGA resource utilization was recorded for each configuration.
Date: April 1, 2011
Creator: Learn, Mark Walter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evaluation of the Leon3 soft-core processor within a Xilinx radiation-hardened field-programmable gate array.

Description: The purpose of this document is to summarize the work done to evaluate the performance of the Leon3 soft-core processor in a radiation environment while instantiated in a radiation-hardened static random-access memory based field-programmable gate array. This evaluation will look at the differences between two soft-core processors: the open-source Leon3 core and the fault-tolerant Leon3 core. Radiation testing of these two cores was conducted at the Texas A&M University Cyclotron facility and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The results of these tests are included within the report along with designs intended to improve the mitigation of the open-source Leon3. The test setup used for evaluating both versions of the Leon3 is also included within this document.
Date: January 1, 2012
Creator: Learn, Mark Walter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mitigation of cache memory using an embedded hard-core PPC440 processor in a Virtex-5 Field Programmable Gate Array.

Description: Sandia National Laboratories is currently developing new processing and data communication architectures for use in future satellite payloads. These architectures will leverage the flexibility and performance of state-of-the-art static-random-access-memory-based Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). One such FPGA is the radiation-hardened version of the Virtex-5 being developed by Xilinx. However, not all features of this FPGA are being radiation-hardened by design and could still be susceptible to on-orbit upsets. One such feature is the embedded hard-core PPC440 processor. Since this processor is implemented in the FPGA as a hard-core, traditional mitigation approaches such as Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR) are not available to improve the processor's on-orbit reliability. The goal of this work is to investigate techniques that can help mitigate the embedded hard-core PPC440 processor within the Virtex-5 FPGA other than TMR. Implementing various mitigation schemes reliably within the PPC440 offers a powerful reconfigurable computing resource to these node-based processing architectures. This document summarizes the work done on the cache mitigation scheme for the embedded hard-core PPC440 processor within the Virtex-5 FPGAs, and describes in detail the design of the cache mitigation scheme and the testing conducted at the radiation effects facility on the Texas A&M campus.
Date: February 1, 2010
Creator: Learn, Mark Walter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Soft-core processor study for node-based architectures.

Description: Node-based architecture (NBA) designs for future satellite projects hold the promise of decreasing system development time and costs, size, weight, and power and positioning the laboratory to address other emerging mission opportunities quickly. Reconfigurable Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based modules will comprise the core of several of the NBA nodes. Microprocessing capabilities will be necessary with varying degrees of mission-specific performance requirements on these nodes. To enable the flexibility of these reconfigurable nodes, it is advantageous to incorporate the microprocessor into the FPGA itself, either as a hardcore processor built into the FPGA or as a soft-core processor built out of FPGA elements. This document describes the evaluation of three reconfigurable FPGA based processors for use in future NBA systems--two soft cores (MicroBlaze and non-fault-tolerant LEON) and one hard core (PowerPC 405). Two standard performance benchmark applications were developed for each processor. The first, Dhrystone, is a fixed-point operation metric. The second, Whetstone, is a floating-point operation metric. Several trials were run at varying code locations, loop counts, processor speeds, and cache configurations. FPGA resource utilization was recorded for each configuration. Cache configurations impacted the results greatly; for optimal processor efficiency it is necessary to enable caches on the processors. Processor caches carry a penalty; cache error mitigation is necessary when operating in a radiation environment.
Date: September 1, 2008
Creator: Van Houten, Jonathan Roger; Jarosz, Jason P.; Welch, Benjamin James; Gallegos, Daniel E. & Learn, Mark Walter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department