Configurable multiplier modules for an adaptive computing system
The importance of reconfigurable hardware is increasing steadily. For example, the primary approach of using adaptive systems based on programmable gate arrays and configurable routing resources has gone mainstream and high-performance programmable logic devices are rivaling traditional application-specific hardwired integrated circuits. Also, the idea of moving from the 2-D domain into a 3-D design which stacks several active layers above each other is gaining momentum in research and industry, to cope with the demand for smaller devices with a higher scale of integration. However, optimized arithmetic blocks in course-grain reconfigurable arrays as well as field-programmable architectures still play an important role. In countless digital systems and signal processing applications, the multiplication is one of the critical challenges, where in many cases a trade-off between area usage and data throughput has to be made. But the a priori choice of word-length and number representation can also be replaced by a dynamic choice at run-time, in order to improve flexibility, area efficiency and the level of parallelism in computation. In this contribution, we look at an adaptive computing system called 3-D-SoftChip to point out what parameters are crucial to implement flexible multiplier blocks into optimized elements for accelerated processing. The 3-D-SoftChip architecture uses a novel approach to 3-dimensional integration based on flip-chip bonding with indium bumps. The modular construction, the introduction of interfaces to realize the exchange of intermediate data, and the reconfigurable sign handling approach will be explained, as well as a beneficial way to handle and distribute the numerous required control signals.