Difficulty of Predicting Interconnect Delay in a Timing Driven FPGA CAD Flow


This paper studies the difficulty of predicting interconnect delay in an industrial setting. Fifty industrial circuits, Altera's Quartus II CAD software, and Altera's Stratix and Stratix II FPGA architectures were used in the study. We show that there is a large amount of inherent randomness in a state-of-the-art FPGA placement algorithm. Thus, it is impossible to predict interconnect delay with a high degree of accuracy. Futhermore, we show that a simple timing model can be used to predict some aspects of interconnect timing with just as much accuracy as predictions obtained by running the placement tool itself. Finally, we examine the benefits of using the simple timing model in a timing driven physical synthesis flow, and attempt to establish an upper bound on these possible gains, given the difficulty of interconnect delay prediction.


Valavan Manohararajah, Gordon R. Chiu, Deshanand P. Singh, and Stephen D. Brown, "Difficulty of Predicting Interconnect Delay in a Timing Driven FPGA CAD Flow", In Proceedings of the Workshop on System Level Interconnect Prediction, Munich, Germany, March 2006, pp. 3-8.

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