CoRam: An In-Fabric Memory Architecture for FPGA-Based Computing

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James Hoe

Carnegie-Mellon University

April, 2011

A fundamental obstacle to FPGA-based computing today is the FPGA's lack of a common, scalable memory architecture. When developing applications for FPGAs, designers are often directly responsible for crafting the application-specific infrastructure logic that manages and transports data to and from the processing kernels. This infrastructure not only increases design time and effort but will frequently lock a design to a particular FPGA product line, hindering scalability and portability. We propose a new FPGA memory architecture called Connected RAM (CoRAM) to serve as a portable bridge between the distributed computation kernels and the external memory interfaces. In addition to improving performance and efficiency, the CoRAM architecture provides a virtualized memory environment as seen by the hardware kernels to simplify development and to improve an application's portability and scalability.  This is join work with Eric S. Chung and Prof. Ken Mai.