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International Journal of Reconfigurable Computing
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3925961, 28 pages
Research Article

Software-Defined Radio FPGA Cores: Building towards a Domain-Specific Language

1Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Software Defined Radio Group, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
2Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Radar Remote Sensing Group, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa

Correspondence should be addressed to Lekhobola Tsoeunyane

Received 9 December 2016; Revised 7 April 2017; Accepted 16 April 2017; Published 17 July 2017

Academic Editor: Michael Hübner

Copyright © 2017 Lekhobola Tsoeunyane et al. 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.


This paper reports on the design and implementation of an open-source library of parameterizable and reusable Hardware Description Language (HDL) Intellectual Property (IP) cores designed for the development of Software-Defined Radio (SDR) applications that are deployed on FPGA-based reconfigurable computing platforms. The library comprises a set of cores that were chosen, together with their parameters and interfacing schemas, based on recommendations from industry and academic SDR experts. The operation of the SDR cores is first validated and then benchmarked against two other cores libraries of a similar type to show that our cores do not take much more logic elements than existing cores and that they support a comparable maximum clock speed. Finally, we propose our design for a Domain-Specific Language (DSL) and supporting tool-flow, which we are in the process of building using our SDR library and the Delite DSL framework. We intend to take this DSL and supporting framework further to provide a rapid prototyping system for SDR application development to programmers not experienced in HDL coding. We conclude with a summary of the main characteristics of our SDR library and reflect on how our DSL tool-flow could assist other developers working in SDR field.