A General Hardware/Software Co-design Methodology for Embedded Signal Processing and Multimedia Workloads
Cavallaro, Joseph R.
This paper presents a hardware/software co-design methodology for partitioning real-time embedded multimedia applications between software programmable DSPs and hardware based FPGA coprocessors. By following a strict set of guidelines, the input application is partitioned between software executing on a programmable DSP and hardware based FPGA implementation to alleviate computational bottlenecks in modern VLIW style DSP architectures used in embedded systems. This methodology is applied to channel estimation firmware in 3.5G wireless receivers, as well as software based H.263 video decoders. As much as an 11x improvement in runtime performance can be achieved by partitioning performance critical software kernels in these workloads into a hardware based FPGA implementation executing in tandem with the existing host DSP.