AutoBridge: Coupling Coarse-Grained Floorplanning and Pipelining for High-Frequency HLS Design on Multi-Die FPGAs


Despite an increasing adoption of high-level synthesis (HLS) for its design productivity advantages, there remains a significant gap in the achievable clock frequency between an HLS-generated design and a handcrafted RTL one. A key factor that limits the timing quality of the HLS outputs is the difficulty in accurately estimating the interconnect delay at the HLS level. Unfortunately, this problem becomes even worse when large HLS designs are implemented on the latest multi-die FPGAs, where die-crossing interconnects incur a high delay penalty.
To tackle this challenge, we propose AutoBridge, an automated framework that couples a coarse-grained floorplanning step with pipelining during HLS compilation. First, our approach provides HLS with a view on the global physical layout of the design, allowing HLS to more easily identify and pipeline the long wires, especially those crossing the die boundaries. Second, by exploiting the flexibility of HLS pipelining, the floorplanner is able to distribute the design logic across multiple dies on the FPGA device without degrading clock frequency. This prevents the placer from aggressively packing the logic on a single die which often results in local routing congestion that eventually degrades timing. Since pipelining may introduce additional latency, we further present analysis and algorithms to ensure the added latency will not compromise the overall throughput.
AutoBridge can be integrated into the existing CAD toolflow for Xilinx FPGAs. In our experiments with a total of 43 design configurations, we improve the average frequency from 147 MHz to 297MHz (a 102% improvement) with no loss of throughput and a negligible change in resource utilization. Notably, in 16 experiments we make the originally unroutable designs achieve 274 MHz on average. The tool is available at

In International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), ACM. (Best Paper Award)