A virtual hardware operating system for the Xilinx XC6200
Computer operating systems relieve a user of the responsibility for managing physical resources, such as processors, memory and input/output devices. The evolution of FPGA technology means that a new resource is available — it is accessed like memory, but can behave like a flexible processor or input/output device. There is a rôle for an operating system in making this resource easy to use, by managing it on behalf of a user. This paper explores the issues involved in such management, in particular the problems involved in presenting a software-oriented user with a larger virtual hardware resource that is implemented using smaller physical FPGA hardware. A prototype operating system, that demonstrates operational solutions to the problems using the Xilinx XC6200 FPGA, is described.
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