In this work, in-depth considerations about FPGA-CPU architectures design methods are presented together with some possible plant applications. FPGAs are used because of their potentials in guaranteeing parallelism, synchronism and high reliability tasks; on the other hand CPUs are crucial to higher precision computations and to reproduce data and results on a graphical interface, thus resulting in an improvement in the human-machine-interface (HMI). Design choices are here reported to justify the benefits from the use of both CPU-FPGA approaches. Taking advantage of these features, the LabVIEW environment and its digital platform is expanded in order to develop a novel tool able to support designers during the fundamental phases of a supervision and control tool realization: from the model development to the digital hardware implementation and testing. LabVIEW is able to communicate with several languages like Matlab or Scilab for a theoretical model study and simulation, and VHDL for a digital implementation, taking the advantages from both development environments.

Main results have been reported concerning studies of control systems in nuclear plant facilities, showing how a full-digital platform can be very useful in developing monitoring and control instrumentation. This new tool is thought to improve the so-called hardware in the loop (HIL) simulations and to accelerate the process of prototypes implementation and testing, using a more accurate and reliable environment in terms of performance and safety.

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