This dissertation describes the design and implementation of a mechanism that automates gateware device detection for reconfigurable hardware. The research facilitates the process of identifying and operating on gateware images by extending the existing infrastructure of probing devices in traditional software by using the chosen technology.
An automated gateware detection mechanism was devised in an effort to build a software system with the goal to improve performance and reduce software development time spent on operating gateware pieces by reusing existing device drivers in the framework of the chosen technology.
This dissertation first investigates the system design to see how each of the user specifications set for the KAT (Karoo Array Telescope) project in  could be achieved in terms of design decisions, toolchain selection and software modifications. The final design satisfies the user specifications by treating the gateware programmed on reconfigurable hardware just like any other physical device attached to the system, extending the device database available to bootloader, mapping kernel device driver to operate on the gateware programmed and allowing the user to run suitable applications based on the personality of the gateware image programmed. The system implementation is then described and issues related to the process of integrating gateware, bootloader and kernel interfaces are discussed. The results of tests conducted on the actual hardware demonstrating the overall concept are presented. Conclusions are drawn based on these results and suggestions for future work and design improvements are recommended.