BITMAN: A Tool and API for FPGA Bitstream Manipulations

Khoa Dang Phama, Edson Hortab and Dirk Kochc
School of Computer Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


To fully support the partial reconfiguration capabilities of FPGAs, this paper introduces the tool and API BITMAN for generating and manipulating configuration bitstreams. BITMAN supports recent Xilinx FPGAs that can be used by the ISE and Vivado tool suites of the FPGA vendor Xilinx, including latest Virtex-6, 7 Series, UltraScale and UltraScale+ series FPGAs.
The functionality includes high-level commands such as cutting out regions of a bitstream and placing or relocating modules on an FPGA as well as low-level commands for modifying primitives and for routing clock networks or rerouting signal connections at run-time. All this is possible without the vendor CAD tools for allowing BITMAN to be used even with embedded CPUs. The paper describes the capabilities, API and performance evaluation of BITMAN.

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