Research Projects

DynamIA: Dynamic Hardware Reconfiguration in Industrial Applications


The project focuses on transferring knowledge on partial and dynamic reconfiguration of FPGAs from the academic partners to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), because the success stories on partial and dynamic reconfiguration were mainly only realized in large companies with a substantial amount of R&D activities. The reason is that the technology is still perceived as being difficult to adopt and expensive in terms of NRE costs. Therefore, the goal of the DynamIA project is two-fold. (1) It develops a number of use cases and guidelines in different application domains, tailored to the activities of the SMEs in the user group and in the broader target group, demonstrating a number of benefits of partial and dynamic FPGA reconfiguration, namely a faster start-up, a faster design cycle and a lower occupation of resources leading to a lower static power consumption. (2) It develops a low-cost, vendor-independent emulation environment for dynamic and partial reconfiguration, which is non-existing in commercial and academic EDA tools. Another benefit of this emulation environment is that it can also be used for static designs. This allows SMEs to have a low-cost emulation environment for their applications instead of developing their own emulation environment manually (which is very time-consuming) or buying big cost-intensive commercial emulators.

DYnamIA is a Collective Research NETworking (CORNET) project and supports the networking of national and regional programmes of European research. This form of project is corrdinated by the AiF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen "Otto von Guericke" e.V.).

RADIO: Robots in Assisted living environments

bild1 Demographic and epidemiologic transitions in Europe have brought a new health care paradigm where life expectancy is increasing as well as the need for long-term care. To meet the resulting challenge, European healthcare systems need to take full advantage of new opportunities offered by technical advancements in ICT. The RADIO project explores a novel approach to user acceptance and unobtrusiveness: an integrated smart home/assistant robot system where health monitoring equipment is an obvious and accepted part of the user’s daily life. By using the smart home/assistant robot as sensing equipment for health monitoring, we mask the functionality of the sensors rather than the sensors themselves. In this manner, sensors do not need to be discrete and distant or masked and cumbersome to install; they do however need to be perceived as a natural component of the smart home/assistant robot functionalities. The RADIO project started in April 2015 and has a duration of 3 years. Link to the official website

RADIO is funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020/PHC-19-2014) under the Research and Innovation Action. Partners in the consortium are National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos" (NCSR-D), Greece, Technical Educational Institute of Western, Greece (TWG), Greece, Ruhr Universitaet Bochum (RUB), Germany, Robotnik Automation, Spain, Sensing & Control Systems S.L., Spain, AVN Innovative Technology Solutions Ltd., Cyprus, Fondazione Santa Lucia, Italy, Fundació Hospital Asil de Granollers, Spain and Frontida Zois, Greece

EXTRA: Exploiting eXascale Technology with Reconfigurable Architectures

bild2 To handle the stringent performance requirements of future exascale High Performance Computing (HPC) applications, HPC systems need ultra-efficient heterogeneous compute nodes. To reduce power and increase performance, such compute nodes will require reconfiguration as an intrinsic feature, so that specific HPC application features can be optimally accelerated at all times, even if they regularly change over time. In the EXTRA project, we create a new and flexible exploration platform for developing reconfigurable architectures, design tools and HPC applications with run-time reconfiguration built-in from the start. The idea is to enable the efficient co-design and joint optimization of architecture, tools, applications, and reconfiguration technology in order to prepare for the necessary HPC hardware nodes of the future. The project EXTRA covers the complete chain from architecture up to the application:

  • More coarse-grain reconfigurable architectures that allow reconfiguration on higher functionality levels and therefore provide much faster reconfiguration than at the bit level.
  • The development of just-in time synthesis tools that are optimized for fast (but still efficient) re-synthesis of application phases to new, specialized implementations through reconfiguration.
  • The optimization of applications that maximally exploit reconfiguration.
  • Suggestions for improvements to reconfigurable technologies to enable the proposed reconfiguration of the architectures.

In conclusion, EXTRA focuses on the fundamental building blocks for run-time reconfigurable exascale HPC systems: new reconfigurable architectures with very low reconfiguration overhead, new tools that truly take reconfiguration as a design concept, and applications that are tuned to maximally exploit run-time reconfiguration techniques. Our goal is to provide the European platform for run-time reconfiguration to maintain Europe’s competitive edge and leadership in run-time reconfigurable computing. The EXTRA project starts in September 2015 and has a duration of 3 years.

EXTRA is funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020/H2020-FETHPC-1-2014). The partners in the consortium are Ghent University, Belgium, Telecommunications Systems Institute, Greece, Imperial College London, UK, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, , Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, Maxeler, UK, Synelixis, Greece, University of Cambridge, UK

Decentralized Cooperating Sensor-Based Subsystems for Industry 4.0 Production Plants (DnSPro)

The objective of the project proposal is to build the foundation for smart Industry 4.0-capable production plants. The project’s idea will be presented by the example of complex plants for arbitrary fluids with regards to different product features and plant parameters such as viscosity, pressure, velocity and temperature. In this context, "smart" refers to the quick and flexible adaptation of the plant to changing conditions, with a clear increase of the plant’s availability. The plants are supposed to adapt themselves on demand. This means that a plant can adjust itself autonomously to the currently produced product – clearly following the 4.0 paradigm.

The objective is to be achieved by multi-sensoric, self-adapting locally embedded electronic systems – cyber-physical systems (CPS) –, which describe an autonomous and self-acting system working with corresponding sensor elements – a cyber-physical production system (CPPS). Specifically, this means that sensors capture various process sizes, evaluate the data locally (in situ), control locally connected actuators and report only the information gained from the data to a central control room.

DnSPro is a BMBF supported Project in the Call Select I4.0