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International Journal of Reconfigurable Computing
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 963539, 12 pages
Research Article

A Streaming High-Throughput Linear Sorter System with Contention Buffering

1Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, The University of Kansas, 2335 Irving Hill Road, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
2Computer Science and Computer Engineering, The University of Arkansas, 504 J. B. Hunt Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA

Received 28 July 2010; Accepted 15 January 2011

Academic Editor: Aravind Dasu

Copyright © 2011 Jorge Ortiz and David Andrews. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Popular sorting algorithms do not translate well into hardware implementations. Instead, hardware-based solutions like sorting networks, systolic sorters, and linear sorters exploit parallelism to increase sorting efficiency. Linear sorters, built from identical nodes with simple control, have less area and latency than sorting networks, but they are limited in their throughput. We present a system composed of multiple linear sorters acting in parallel to increase overall throughput. Interleaving is used to increase bandwidth and allow sorting of multiple values per clock cycle, and the amount of interleaving and depth of the linear sorters can be adapted to suit specific applications. Contention for available linear sorters in the system is solved through the use of buffers that accumulate conflicting requests, dispatching them in bulk to reduce latency penalties. Implementation of this system into a field programmable gate array (FPGA) results in a speedup of 68 compared to a MicroBlaze processor running quicksort.