High-Level Synthesis (HLS) is the process of inferring a digital circuit from a high-level algorithmic description provided as a software implementation, usually in C/C++. HLS tools will parse the input code and then perform three main steps: allocation, scheduling, and binding. This results in a hardware architecture which can then be represented as a Register-Transfer Level (RTL) model using a Hardware Description Language (HDL), such as VHDL or Verilog. Allocation determines the amount of resources needed, scheduling finds the order in which operations should occur, and binding maps operations onto the allocated hardware resources. Two main challenges of scheduling are in its computational complexity and memory requirements. Finding an optimal schedule is an NP-hard problem, so many tools use elaborate heuristics to find a solution which satisfies prescribed implementation constraints. These heuristics require the Control/Data Flow Graph (CDFG), a representation of all operations and their dependencies, which must be stored in its entirety and therefore use large amounts of memory.
This thesis presents a new scheduling approach for use in the HLS tool chain. The new technique schedules operations using an algorithm which operates on a reduced representation of the graph, which does not need to retain individual dependency information in order to generate a schedule. By using the simplified graph, the complexity of scheduling is significantly reduced, resulting in improved memory usage and lower computational effort. This new scheduler is implemented and compared to the existing scheduler in the open source version of the LegUp HLS tool. The results demonstrate that an average of 16 times speedup on the time required to determine the schedule can be achieved, with just a fraction of the memory usage (1/5 on average). All of this is achieved with 0 to 6% of added cost on the final hardware execution time.
Computer Engineering (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Engineering (KGCOE)
Sonia Lopez Alarcon
hab. inz. Pawel Sniatala
Soldavini, Stephanie, "Using Reduced Graphs for Efficient HLS Scheduling" (2019). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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