Non-volatile intermittent processing on FPGA
Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are common platforms for fast prototyping and behavioral verification of processor architectures. Since current FPGAs comprise only volatile flip-flops, their logic elements lose contents whenever power is removed from the system. The invention concerns a new FPGA architecture that enables the emulation and behavioral verification of computing systems exploiting fast non-volatile memories.
Current FPGA platforms used for rapid prototyping and behavioral verification of processor architectures contain no elements for handling fast non-volatile logic. The present invention provides an architecture and a process that allow to emulate and validate fast non-volatile architectures using standard FPGAs.
The proposed architecture includes three auxiliary blocks:
- the intermittency emulation block that emulates irregular power supply typical to energy-harvesting systems;
- the non-volatile register emulation block that emulates the persistence of the non-volatile registers (as well as the delays of the read/write operations);
- the power consumption block that approximates the power consumption of the emulated technology.
- Verification of the typical behavior of transiently-powered computing systems equipped with non-volatile memories;
- Fast-prototyping and debugging non-volatile processor architectures without the production of pre-industrial hardware prototypes.
- The architecture is based on the commonly-used off-the-shelf FPGAs;
- Ability to emulate any non-volatile logic powered by unregular power supplies on the FPGA;
- Approximation of the power consumption and of the emulated non-volatile memory technology delay.