High-level synthesis (HLS) has recently been used to improve design productivity for many units in today’s complex SoCs. HLS tools and flows improve chip design productivity by enabling prototyping and automated implementation of RTL from a single codebase. Although interconnect design is a critical part of today’s highly complex SoCs, HLS has not historically been used for SoC-level interconnect. One reason for this is that interconnect architecture and physical floorplan are tightly coupled, and can be difficult to estimate early in the design process.
To address this gap, we propose IPA (Interconnect Prototyping Assistant), a framework for interconnect prototyping and implementation in HLS-based SoC flows. IPA includes an application programming interface (API) and accompanying tools that automate interconnect modeling and generation for SystemC-based designs. Our framework is used during early architectural prototyping by abstracting specifics of interconnect implementation. IPA then generates interconnect models, including interfaces, for SystemC cycle-accurate simulations. If the design requires long wires between communication units, IPA automatically inserts retiming stages to meet clock frequency targets. IPA’s SystemC code is fully HLS-compatible for RTL creation, and thus can be used within a full-chip HLS flow for pushbutton interconnect generation once a design point is selected.
IPA provides accurate architectural performance feedback in minutes and can generate high-quality RTL implementations for SoC interconnect in hours. We demonstrate IPA by exploring the design space for an on- chip interconnect on a micro-benchmark and a deep learning accelerator.
Code is available at https://github.com/NVlabs/IPA.
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