This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
Static and Dynamic Configurable Systems
June 1999 (vol. 48 no. 6)
pp. 556-564

Abstract—Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are large, fast integrated circuits—that can be modified, or configured, almost at any point by the end user. Within the domain of configurable computing, we distinguish between two modes of configurability: static—where the configurable processor's configuration string is loaded once at the outset, after which it does not change during execution of the task at hand, and dynamic—where the processor's configuration may change at any moment. This paper describes four applications in the domain of configurable computing, considering both static and dynamic systems, including: SPYDER (a reconfigurable processor development system), RENCO (a reconfigurable network computer), Firefly (an evolving machine), and the BioWatch (a self-repairing watch). While static configurability mainly aims at attaining the classical computing goal of improving performance, dynamic configurability might bring about an entirely new breed of hardware devices—ones that are able to adapt within dynamic environments.

[1] J. Villasenor and W.H. Mangione-Smith, “Configurable Computing,” Scientific Am., vol. 276, no. 6, pp. 54-59, June 1997.
[2] Field-Programmable Gate Array Technology, S.M. Trimberger, ed. Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1994.
[3] C. Iseli and E. Sanchez, “Spyder: A SURE (SUperscalar and REconfigurable) Processor,” J. Supercomputing, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 231-252, 1995.
[4] A. DeHon, “Architectures for General-Purpose Computing,” A.I. Technical Report No. 1586, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT, Oct. 1996.
[5] The SPARC Architecture Manual, D.L. Weaver and T. Germond, eds. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1994.
[6] C. Iseli, “Spyder: A Reconfigurable Processor Development System,” PhD thesis, Computer Science Dept., Swiss Federal Inst. of Technology, Lausanne, thesis no. 1476, 1996.
[7] “Motorola Core+ Chip Merges CPU with FPGA,” Microprocessor Report, vol. 12, no. 2, p. 10, 1998.
[8] Z. Salcic and A. Smailagic, Digital System Design and Prototyping Using Field Programmable Logic. Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1997.
[9] Bio-Inspired Computing Machines: Toward Novel Computational Architectures, D. Mange and M. Tomassini, eds. Lausanne, Switzerland: Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes, 1998.
[10] Towards Evolvable Hardware, E. Sanchez and M. Tomassini, eds. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1996.
[11] M. Sipper, E. Sanchez, D. Mange, M. Tomassini, A. Pérez-Uribe, and A. Stauffer, “A Phylogenetic, Ontogenetic, and Epigenetic view of Bio-Inspired Hardware Systems,” IEEE Trans. Evolutionary Computation, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 83-97, Apr. 1997.
[12] M. Sipper, M. Goeke, D. Mange, A. Stauffer, E. Sanchez, and M. Tomassini, “The Firefly Machine: Online Evolware,” Proc. 1997 IEEE Int'l Conf. Evolutionary Computation (ICEC'97), pp. 181-186. 1997.
[13] M. Sipper, Evolution of Parallel Cellular Machines: The Cellular Programming Approach. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1997.
[14] D. Mange, E. Sanchez, A. Stauffer, G. Tempesti, P. Marchal, and C. Piguet, “Embryonics: A New Methodology for Designing Field-Programmable Gate Arrays with Self-Repair and Self-Replicating Properties,” IEEE Trans. VLSI Systems, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 387-399, Sept. 1998.

Index Terms:
Configurable computing, FPGAs, static configurability, dynamic configurability.
Eduardo Sanchez, Moshe Sipper, Jacques-Olivier Haenni, Jean-Luc Beuchat, André Stauffer, Andrés Perez-Uribe, "Static and Dynamic Configurable Systems," IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 48, no. 6, pp. 556-564, June 1999, doi:10.1109/12.773792
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.