Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Bieberly, Frank URN etd-02292012-095115 Title Heterogeneous Processing in Software Defined Radio: Flexible Implementation and Optimal Resource Mapping Degree Master of Science Department Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title MacKenzie, Allen B. Committee Chair Athanas, Peter M. Committee Member Dietrich, Carl B. Committee Member Keywords
- oftware Defined Radio
- Heterogeneous Processing
- Resource Mapping
Date of Defense 2012-02-08 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe advantages provided by Software Defined Radios (SDRs) have made them useful
tools for communication engineers and academics alike. The ability to support a wide
range of communication waveforms with varying modulation, encoding, or frequencies
on a single hardware platform can decrease production costs while accelerating wave-
form development. SDR applications are expanding in military and commercial environ-
ments as advances in transistor technology allow greater computational density with de-
creased power-consumption, size, and weight. As the demand for greater performance
continues to increase, some SDR manufacturers are experimenting with heterogeneous
processing platforms to meet these requirements.
Heterogeneous processing, a method of dividing computational tasks among dissimi-
lar processors, is well-suited to the data flow programming paradigm used in many com-
mon SDR software frameworks. Particularly on embedded platforms, heterogeneous pro-
cessing can offer significant gains in computational power while maintaining low power-
consumption, opening the door for affordable and useful mobile SDR platforms.
Many past SDR hardware implementations utilize a partially heterogeneous process-
ing approach. A field programmable gate array (FPGA) is often used to perform high-
speed processing (DDC, decimation) near the radio front-end while another processor
(GPP, DSP or FPGA) performs the rest of the SDR application signal processing (gain
control, filtering, demodulation). A few recent SDR hardware platforms are designed to
allow the use of multiple processor types throughout the SDR application’s processing
chain. This can result in significant benefit to SDR software that can take advantage of the greater heterogeneous processing now available.
This thesis will present a new method of heterogeneous processing in the framework
of GNU Radio. In this implementation a software wrapper allows a DSP to participate
seamlessly in GNU Radio applications. The DSP can be directly substituted for exist-
ing GNU Radio signal processing blocks–significantly expanding the platform’s capa-
bilities while maintaining the benefits of the component-based design methodology. A
similar approach could be applied to additional processing elements (e.g. FPGAs and
co-processors) and to other SDR software frameworks.
As the capabilities of this heterogeneous framework increase users will be required
to assign hardware resources to signal processing tasks to maximize performance. To
remove this burden, a method of predicting GNU Radio application performance and
a heuristic resource mapping algorithm, which seems to perform well in practice, are
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