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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2007, 05:02 PM
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Default Why dynamic partial reconfiguration is still not there?

Many researchers are very enthusiastic about dynamic partial
reconfiguration. Benefits are great. Theoretical basics are discussed
since relatively long time, but we still don't have any widely
accepted hardware/software technology. My opinion is that the
proprietary closed nature of FPGA hardware and software tools is the
big obstacle in this way. It just keep us from faster development. We
are ready. Just give us more openness.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2007, 05:56 PM
Mike Treseler
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Default Re: Why dynamic partial reconfiguration is still not there?

[email protected] wrote:
> Many researchers are very enthusiastic about dynamic partial
> reconfiguration. Benefits are great. Theoretical basics are discussed
> since relatively long time, but we still don't have any widely
> accepted hardware/software technology. My opinion is that the
> proprietary closed nature of FPGA hardware and software tools is the
> big obstacle in this way. It just keep us from faster development. We
> are ready. Just give us more openness.


If I had a great idea in this area,
I would demonstrate it in simulation
and then ring up a venture capitalist.

-- Mike Treseler

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2007, 06:13 PM
fpgauser
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Default Re: Why dynamic partial reconfiguration is still not there?

Researchers are always very enthusiastic about many things and so are
engineers when hearing about new ways and possibilities. :-)

Practical engineers furthermore see the requirements of development
processes as well, such as time to market, costs, development
complexity, documentation, testability etc ...

For me, working (among others) for the medical products industry too,
I can say, that up to now there are many (even simpler) techniques,
methods and devices, which are easier to handle and to test, which are
not accepted by the customer and thus not realized. I once liked to
integrate an embedded webserver in one deivce and found, that the chip
"is not designed for medical product" - which does in fact mean, that
it was exclude just for security purposes - the device might have
worked nicely!

>From my point of view, I think it will be hard, to establish such a

technology in fields, where there are high demands of safety and
security and where much testing has to be performed before beeing able
(or allowed) to release a product. Think of e.g. the problem of system
tests: Every change of the basic function of a health care product by
a change of software / firmware upgrade (and changing FPGA code is
nothing else) requires a test and formal recalibration of the
instrument. Sometimes it has to be made sure, that only specific
persons are allowed to do this, and have to do this by intention.
Therefore, many processes are established inside software and hardware
(also FPGA) to PROHIBIT such changes. For example, in my current
project, there are redundancy mechanisms, which disallow the change of
certain parameters (only parameters !!!) by a CPU , because the CPU
could be mislead and do this coincidentially (theoretically). Much
FMEA has to be done to proove this and documentate it.

Now your idea is, to "open a door" for reconfiguration - meaning
"replacing funcionality" ? I can imagine the shocked faces of Dr X in
the clinc Y who is responsible for the formal correct processes
according GMP and similar regulations and laws.

Also, many medical products have to be checked by a clinical test,
which takes much time and is very expensive, too. Even if you were
able to establish a safe system for reconfiguration and could convince
the FDA inspectors to accept it - you probably will have to test your
device under all possible configurations. Nobody will do and poy this.
So it is (much) easier to integrate all functions into a big FPGA ,
test it once and completely and the just do not use some functions.
This makes about some $200 for a bigger or a second FPGA but saves
money around a Million.

FPGA reconfiguration might in interessting for consumer products,
possibly. But I cannot point you to an application, either.


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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 11-10-2007, 07:42 PM
Adam Megacz
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Default Re: Why dynamic partial reconfiguration is still not there?


Mike Treseler <[email protected]> writes:
>> My opinion is that the proprietary closed nature of FPGA hardware
>> and software tools is the big obstacle in this way.


Yes.

> If I had a great idea in this area, I would demonstrate it in
> simulation and then ring up a venture capitalist.


If every beneficial technology were commercially exploitable by a
small startup company I think the computing world would be quite a
different place.

- a

--
PGP/GPG: 5C9F F366 C9CF 2145 E770 B1B8 EFB1 462D A146 C380
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 11-10-2007, 11:24 PM
Mike Treseler
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Default Re: Why dynamic partial reconfiguration is still not there?

Adam Megacz wrote:
> Mike Treseler <[email protected]> writes:
>>> My opinion is that the proprietary closed nature of FPGA hardware
>>> and software tools is the big obstacle in this way.


Hmm. I don't remember saying that.

>> If I had a great idea in this area, I would demonstrate it in
>> simulation and then ring up a venture capitalist.

>
> If every beneficial technology were commercially exploitable by a
> small startup company I think the computing world would be quite a
> different place.


Not every idea is a great one,
and it is not up to the FPGA makers
to make hardware the way I happen to
prefer it.

-- Mike Treseler
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