An Architecture Study on a Xilinx Zynq Cluster with Software Defined Radio Applications

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Virginia Tech

The rapid rise in computational performance offered by computer systems has greatly increased the number of practical software defined radio applications. The addition of FPGAs to these flexible systems has resulted in platforms that can address a multitude of applications with performance levels that were once only known to ASICs. This work presents an embedded heterogeneous scalable cluster platform with software defined radio applications. The Xilinx Zynq chip provides a hybrid platform consisting of an embedded ARM general-purpose processing core and a low-power FPGA. The ARM core provides all of the benefits and ease of use common to modern high-level software languages while the FPGA segment offers high performance for computationally intensive components of the application. Four of these chips were combined in a scalable cluster and a task assigner was written to automatically place data flows across the FPGAs and ARM cores. The rapid reconfiguration software tFlow was used to dynamically build arbitrary FPGA images out of a library of pre-built modules.

Zynq, tFlow, Software radio, Cognitive radio networks