Suitability of FPGA-based computing for cyber-physical systems
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Cyber-Physical Systems theory is a new concept that is about to revolutionize the way computers interact with the physical world by integrating physical knowledge into the computing systems and tailoring such computing systems in a way that is more compatible with the way processes happen in the physical world. In this master’s thesis, Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) are studied as a potential technological asset that may contribute to the enablement of the Cyber-Physical paradigm. As an example application that may benefit from cyber-physical system support, the Electro-Slag Remelting process - a process for remelting metals into better alloys - has been chosen due to the maturity of its related physical models and controller designs. In particular, the Particle Filter that estimates the state of the process is studied as a candidate for FPGA-based computing enhancements. In comparison with CPUs, through the designs and experiments carried in relationship with this study, the FPGA reveals itself as a serious contender in the arsenal of v computing means for Cyber-Physical Systems, due to its capacity to mimic the ubiquitous parallelism of physical processes.