Declaratively Programmable Ultra Low-Latency Audio Effects Processing on FPGA

Math Verstraelen; Jan Kuper; Gerard J. M. Smit
DAFx-2014 - Erlangen
WaveCore is a coarse-grained reconfigurable processor architecture, based on data-flow principles. The processor architecture consists of a scalable and interconnected cluster of Processing Units (PU), where each PU embodies a small floating-point RISC processor. The processor has been designed in technology-independent VHDL and mapped on a commercially available FPGA development platform. The programming methodology is declarative, and optimized to the application domain of audio and acoustical modeling. A benchmark demonstrator algorithm (guitar-model, comprehensive effects-gear box, and distortion/cabinet model) has been developed and applied to the WaveCore development platform. The demonstrator algorithm proved that WaveCore is very well suited for efficient modeling of complex audio/acoustical algorithms with negligible latency and virtually zero jitter. An experimental Faust-to-WaveCore compiler has shown the feasibility of automated compilation of Faust code to the WaveCore processor target. Keywords: ultra-low latency, zero-jitter, coarse-grained reconfigurable computing, declarative programming, automated manycore compilation, Faust-compatible, massively-parallel