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Distributing a hardware design across multiple physical devices is difficult - splitting a design across two chips requires considerable effort to partition the design and to build the communication mechanism between the chips. Designers and researchers would benefit enormously if this were easier as it would, for example, allow multiple FPGAS to be used when building prototypes. To this end, the authors propose OpenPipes, a platform to allow hardware designs to be distributed across physical resources. OpenPipes follows the model of many system-building platforms: systems are built by composing modules together. What makes it unique is that it uses an OpenFlow network as the interconnect between modules, providing Open-Pipes with complete control over all traffic flows within the interconnect.
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