Extending product functionality and lifetime requires constant addition of new features to satisfy the growing customer needs and the evolving market and technology trends. Software component adaptivity is straightforward but not enough: recent products include hardware accelerators - for reasons of performance and power efficiency - that also need to adapt to new requirements.For example, a Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) needs to scan all incoming network packets for suspicious content. The scanning has to be fast so that the monitored communication links are not slowed down, while the list of threats to check for is extended and updated on a daily basis.
Reconfigurable logic allows the definition of new functions to be implemented in dynamically instantiated hardware units, combining adaptivity with hardware speed and efficiency. For the Intrusion Detection System example, new rules can be hardcoded into the reconfigurable logic, achieving high performance, while providing the necessary adaptivity to new threats.
FASTER will facilitate the use of reconfigurable technology by providing a complete methodology that enables designers to easily implement and verify applications on platforms with general-purpose processors and acceleration modules implemented in the latest reconfigurable technology. We expect that the project will lead to a 20% productivity improvement due to seamless implementation and verification of dynamically changing systems, a 50% total ownership cost reduction for NIDS and Reverse Time Migration systems, with a 2x performance improvement under power constraints for Global Illumination and Image Analysis.