Software defined radio (SDR) platforms implement many digital signal processing algorithms. These can be accelerated on an FPGA to meet performance requirements. Due to the flexibility of SDR's and continually evolving communications protocols, high level synthesis (HLS) is a promising alternative to standard handcrafted design flows. A crucial component in any SDR is the error correction codes (ECC). Turbo codes are a common ECC that are implemented on an FPGA due to their computational complexity. The goal of this thesis is to explore the HLS coding techniques required to produce a design that targets the desired hardware architecture and can reach handcrafted levels of performance.

This work implemented three existing turbo decoder architectures with HLS to produce quality hardware which reaches handcrafted performance. Each targeted design was analyzed to determine its functionality and algorithm so a C implementation could be developed. Then the C code was modified and HLS directives were added to refine the design through the HLS tools. The process of code modification and processing through the HLS tools continued until the desired architecture and performance were reached.

Each design was implemented and the bottlenecks were identified and dealt with through appropriate usage of directives and C style. The use of pipelining to bypass bottlenecks added a small overhead from the ramp-up and ramp-down of the pipeline, reducing the performance by at most 1.24%. The impact of the clock constraint set within the HLS tools was also explored. It was found that the clock period and resource usage estimate generated by the HLS tools is not accurate and all evaluations should occur after hardware synthesis.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

High-level programming languages; Software radio; Field programmable gate arrays; Error-correcting codes (Information theory)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Computer Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Computer Engineering (KGCOE)


Sonia Lopez Alarcon

Advisor/Committee Member

Marcin Lukowiak

Advisor/Committee Member

Andres Kwasinski


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes