Programmable Digital Systems Group


We are a creative and energetic research group exploring interesting ideas in the design and synthesis of digital systems, especially in the programmable hardware realm.

More about Professor Anderson and the research team.

research themes

Prof. Anderson's research relates to computer hardware design, and specifically to programmable logic devices such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and coarse-grained reconfigurable arrays (CGRAs).

Dr. Anderson's work seeks to improve FPGAs and CGRAs from the area, speed, power and ease-of-use perspectives by innovations in circuits, architectures and tools. He is also interested in applications of such chips, particularly in area and power-constrained settings such as embedded systems. One of the application areas we are pursuing is implementing machine learning algorithms (artificial neural networks) on FPGAs to achieve higher energy effiency than standard processors.

Prof. Anderson's other research interests lie in computer-aided design (CAD) algorithms for integrated circuits, digital design and circuits, computer architecture and software engineering.

CGRA-ME: Coarse-grained configurable arrays/architectures (CGRAs) are programmable hardware devices with large ALU-like processing elements and datapath-style routing. They reside between FPGAs and custom ASICs on the spectrums of flexibility and power/performance efficiency. CGRA-ME is a modelling and exploration framework we are developing to enable new research on CGRA architectures and associated CAD tools. CGRA-ME is open-source and freely downloadable for non-commercial research purposes.

LegUp: An on-going project that aims to automatically compile C programs to processor/accelerator FPGA-based systems. The LegUp project is co-led by Profs. Anderson and Stephen Brown. Currently on its fourth public release, thousands researchers around the world have downloaded our high-level synthesis tool! Check out the LegUp research project website and try it out yourself! And, learn about the start-up company commercializing LegUp technology that was acquired by Microchip Technologies in October 2020!

Research Group Wiki


We are attracted to research endeavours that align with three overarching criteria:

Novelty: We seek novel and innovative solutions to real problems, and prefer to be the first to break ground in new fields.

Accessibility: We pursue research that can be used and built-upon by others, that benefits the research community and the broader society, and that has low barriers to its practical application.

Impact: We aspire to produce results that are widely cited by other researchers, and we strive for excellence as recognized by our peers in the research community and in industry.