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Towards Scalable FPGA CAD Through Architecture

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Executive Summary

Long FPGA CAD runtime has emerged as a limitation to the future scaling of FPGA densities. Already, compile times on the order of a day are common, and the situation will only get worse as FPGAs get larger. Without a concerted effort to reduce compile times, further scaling of FPGAs will eventually become impractical. Previous works have presented fast CAD tools that tradeoff quality of result for compile time. In this paper, the authors take a different but complementary approach. They show that the architecture of the FPGA itself can be designed to be amenable to fast-compile. If not done carefully, this can lead to lower-quality mapping results, so a careful tradeoff between area, delay, power, and compile run-time is essential.

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