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This article is part of the series Design and Architectures for Signal and Image Processing 2008.

Open Access Research Article

Multiple Word-Length High-Level Synthesis

Philippe Coussy*, Ghizlane Lhairech-Lebreton and Dominique Heller

Author Affiliations

Lab-STICC (CNRS), European University of Brittany, The Université de Bretagne-Sud, Centre de Recherche, BP 92116, F-56321 Lorient Cedex, France

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EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems 2008, 2008:916867  doi:10.1155/2008/916867

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://jes.eurasipjournals.com/content/2008/1/916867

Received:29 February 2008
Revisions received:5 May 2008
Accepted:21 July 2008
Published:29 July 2008

© 2008 The Author(s).

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Digital signal processing (DSP) applications are nowadays widely used and their complexity is ever growing. The design of dedicated hardware accelerators is thus still needed in system-on-chip and embedded systems. Realistic hardware implementation requires first to convert the floating-point data of the initial specification into arbitrary length data (finite-precision) while keeping an acceptable computation accuracy. Next, an optimized hardware architecture has to be designed. Considering uniform bit-width specification allows to use traditional automated design flow. However, it leads to oversized design. On the other hand, considering non uniform bit-width specification allows to get a smaller circuit but requires complex design tasks. In this paper, we propose an approach that inputs a C/C++ specification. The design flow, based on high-level synthesis (HLS) techniques, automatically generates a potentially pipeline RTL architecture described in VHDL. Both bitaccurate integer and fixed-point data types can be used in the input specification. The generated architecture uses components (operator, register, etc.) that have different widths. The design constraints are the clock period and the throughput of the application. The proposed approach considers data word-length information in all the synthesis steps by using dedicated algorithms. We show in this paper the effectiveness of the proposed approach through several design experiments in the DSP domain.

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