For the 20th anniversary of the International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays in 2012, a program committee has assembled a special volume to highlight the most significant papers from the conferences – 25 papers across all years and all major FPGA topics that best exemplify the contributions from the conference. These 25 papers represent roughly 5% of the 400-500 papers that have appeared in the conference to date.
The paper “PathFinder: A Negotiation-Based Performance-Driven Router for FPGAs” by UW CSE’s Larry McMurchie and Carl Ebeling was among the 25 papers selected. In nominating the paper, Sinan Kaptanoglu, Fellow and FPGA Architect at Microsemi Corp., wrote:
“I personally consider this to be the single most important paper for FPGAs at any technical conference in the past twenty years. This assertion is based on the accumulated impact of this paper on the FPGA industry and the academia alike. This paper changed FPGA routing from a major headache with wildly fluctuating results to a reasonably well controlled optimization problem. Today, all FPGA vendors have routers in production that are based on Negotiated Congestion or based on some generalization of the idea. It is also the cornerstone of VPR, the most commonly used tool for Academic Research.
“Some papers inspire the audience immediately. Others, like this one, go underappreciated for a while before their significance is fully understood. … Back in 1995, … very few understood that … this was a game changing fundamental idea that will withstand the challenges of decades and will not be surpassed by any other router, except by its own extensions and generalizations. In the years that followed, slowly but surely, academia and the industry both understood the magnitude of the milestone achieved by the concepts advanced in this paper.”
Congratulations to Carl and Larry!