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This paper presents a modular and extensible high-level synthesis research system, called SPARK, which takes a behavioral description in ANSI-C as input and produces synthesizable register-transfer level VHDL. SPARK uses parallelizing compiler technology developed previously to enhance instruction-level parallelism and re-instruments it for high-level synthesis by incorporating ideas of mutual exclusivity of operations, resource sharing and hardware cost models. In this paper, the authors present the design flow through the SPARK system, a set of transformations that include speculative code motions and dynamic transformations and show how these transformations and other optimizing synthesis and compiler techniques are employed by a scheduling heuristic. Experiments are performed on two moderately complex industrial applications, namely, MPEG-1 and the GIMP image processing tool.
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