Design space exploration strategies for FPGA implementation of signal processing systems using CAL dataflow program
This paper presents some strategies for design space exploration of FPGA-based signal processing systems that are specified using the CAL dataflow language. The actor- oriented, high-level of abstraction provided by CAL allows flexible exploration and consequently results in a wide range of feasible design implementations. We have applied and ex- tended the existing techniques for refactoring and pipelining actors and actions by means of critical path analysis, and in- troduced some new buffering techniques based on heuristics. The combinations of these techniques have been applied on the CAL specification of the MPEG-4 video decoder, and synthesized to HDL for evaluation in the design implementa- tion space. Results show that using our configuration for the exploration of 48 design points, a throughput range of roughly 8x has been achieved, for slice, block RAM, frequency, and latency range of 1.3x, 2.5x, 2.5x, and 2.9x respectively.