As Moore's law continues to progress, it is becoming increasingly difficult for hardware designers to fully utilize the increasing number of transistors available semiconductor devices including FPGAs. This design productivity gap must be addressed to allow designs to take full advantage of the increased logic density that results from rising transistor density. The reuse of previously developed and verified intellectual property (IP) is one approach that has claimed to narrow the design productivity gap. Reuse, however, has proved difficult to realize in practice because of the complexity of IP and the reluctance of designers to reuse IP that they do not understand. This thesis proposes to narrow the design productivity gap for FPGAs by simplifying the reuse problem by encapsulating IP with extra machine-readable information or meta-data. This meta-data simplifies reuse by providing a language independent format for composing complex systems, providing a parameter representation system, defining high-level data types for FPGA IP, and allowing arbitrary IP to be described as actors in the homogeneous synchronous dataflow model of computation.This work implements meta-data in XML and presents two XML schemas that enable reuse. A new XML schema known as CHREC XML is presented as well as extensions that enable IP-XACT to be used to describe FPGA dataflow IP. Two tools developed in this work are also presented that leverage meta-data to simplify reuse of arbitrary IP. These tools simplify structural composition of IP, allow designers to manipulate parameters, check and validate high-level data types, and automatically synthesize control circuitry for dataflow designs. Productivity improvements are also demonstrated by reusing IP to quickly compose software radio receivers.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





meta-data, FPGA, intellectual property reuse, interface synthesis, IP-XACT, synchronous dataflow, architectural synthesis