The FPGA Physical Design Flow Through the Eyes of ML
Dr. Ismail Bustany, Fellow at AMD
Abstract: The FPGA physical design (PD) flow has innate features that differentiate it from its sibling, the ASIC PD flow. FPGA device families service a wide range of applications, have much longer lifespans in production use, and bring templatized logic layout and routing interconnect fabrics whose characteristics are captured by detailed device models and simpler timing and routing models (e.g. buffered interconnect and abstracted routing resources). Furthermore, the FPGA PD flow is a “one-stop shop” from synthesis to bitstream generation. This avails complete access to annotate, instrument, and harvest netlist and design features. These key differences provide rich opportunities to exploit both device data and design application specific contexts in optimizing various components of the PD flow. In this talk, I will present examples for the application of ML in device modeling and parameter optimization, draw attention to exciting research opportunities for applying the “learning to optimize” paradigm to solving the placement and routing problems, and share some practical learnings.