Field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, allow for unprecedented flexibility in solving computing problems. They allow users to design application-specific hardware without the prohibitive cost of traditional ASIC fabrication. Their ability to be dynamically reconfigured without the necessity of physical hardware changes allows for relatively new and innovative solutions to problems, including the synthesis of entire "soft" microprocessor systems that can be updated over time within the programmable logic of an FPGA.
Intellectual property concerns that have long since been a point of contention in the computing world have become a significant consideration for these soft-core systems, necessitating the development of several "open" alternatives to proprietary soft microprocessors in use today. The purpose of this thesis is to test one such open-IP architecture known as "OpenRISC". A system based on this architecture would be synthesized onto an FPGA, and software, including the open-source Linux operating system and programs to be run within this environment, would be prepared and executed.
This experimentation will be used to evaluate whether or not soft microprocessor systems, a relatively new technology, are ready for mainstream adoption. While the results show much promise for the future, testing indicates that the OpenRISC architecture does not currently display the level of stability or polish necessary to command wide adoption.
|Advisor:||Noble, Bradley L.|
|Commitee:||Engel, George L., Lozowski, Andy G., Noble, Bradley L.|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|Department:||Electrical and Computer Engineering|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 54/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Computer Engineering, Electrical engineering|
|Keywords:||Fpga, Linux, Open ip, Opencores, Openrisc, Soft microprocessor|
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