The basic idea of the ReSys team was to design and build a system for monitoring and/or managing processes and devices. The system consists of a programmable controller and associated software that takes care of configuration and data exchange. Individual parts of the system are interconnected via real-time Ethernet communication.
The basis of the classic programmable controller (used by the competition) is a microprocessor, in which the software program that executes it achieves programmability. The basis of the programmable controller is the field-programmable gate array (FPGA). This differs it significantly from the microcontroller as it allows to implement any hardware on it.
In the ReSys system, the team implemented a microprocessor within the FPGA, thus achieving software programmability (identical to classical systems), while at the same time achieving hardware programmability, which classical systems lack. The ReSys controller is therefore called the software and hardware programmable (SHP) controller.