Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Jacob Gunther


Processing power is a key technical challenge holding back the development of a high-performance software defined radio (SDR). Traditionally, SDR has utilized digital signal processors (DSPs), but increasingly complex algorithms, higher data rates, and multi-tasking needs have exceed the processing capabilities of modern DSPs. Reconfigurable computers, such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), are popular alternatives because of their performance gains over software for streaming data applications like SDR. However, FPGAs have not yet realized the ideal SDR because architectures have not fully utilized their partial reconfiguration (PR) capabilities to bring needed flexibility. A reconfigurable processor architecture is proposed that utilizes PR in reconfigurable computers to achieve a more sophisticated SDR. The proposed processor contains run-time swappable blocks whose parameters and interconnects are programmable. The architecture is analyzed for performance and flexibility and compared with available alternate technologies. For a sample QPSK algorithm, hardware performance gains of at least 44x are seen over modern desktop processors and DSPs while most of their flexibility and extensibility is maintained.


This work made publicly available electronically on December 23, 2010.