Multi-core Network-on-Chip System for Multimedia Applications

Tsholofelo Bafana, Raul Castellanos, Gopolang Tlhaga
supervised by Dr. Gul Khan

Network-on-chip is an approach of designing the communication subsystems between intellectual property cores in a system on chip. The System on Programmable Chip (SoPC) is an FPGA device that can accommodate multiple CPU cores, memory and a vast range of peripherals. Network-on-chip applies to the networking theory and communication methods to on chip communication. It brings notable improvements to over conventional bus and crossbar interconnections. Its main advantages include improved scalability of system on chips, improved power efficiency of complex system on chip to other designs. The complexity of systems on chip is steadily increasing and this has resulted in more and more resources integrated on a single chip. Current standard on chip communication structures which include shared buses among others cannot provide the scalability required to connect all of these resources and this is where the concept of network on chip comes into place. With today's growing need for high capacity in smaller size, high performance, and cheaper electronic systems has led to more complex systems with higher demands. The need to integrate multiple intellectual properties onto a single chip has therefore increased and traditional shared bus communication cannot scale with this increase in system on chip design. Traditional shared bus communication also reduces the performance in multiple core system on chip since the possibility for each core to take the bus master before it can transmit or receive data is reduced. Therefore, in an interconnection network structure which is adopted by network on chip, interconnected routers are the spines of the whole system. The performance of the network depends mainly on the performance of these routers. There are a number of significant factors which determines the working mechanism of a router and its performance. These factors include switching strategy, routing algorithm, flow control mechanism and network topology.

Project targeted applications: Multimedia applications (e.g. JPEG2000, JPEG, MP3, MPEG-2, etc)