feature article archive
Subscribe Now

Field Programmable Journalism

Content and concept are an interesting combination. People read FPGA and Structured ASIC Journal each week to learn from its content – articles, announcements, analysis, advertisements, and alliteration — all of them working together to inform and entertain engineers interested in programmable logic and structured ASIC design. Interestingly, it turns out that there’s a lot we can learn about programmable logic from FPGA Journal’s concept, too. That’s because FPGA Journal is to technical publications what FPGAs are to system design – highly flexible, fast to market, field programmable, field upgradeable, and at … Read More → "Field Programmable Journalism"

The Art of Embedded Design

Engineering, we would argue, falls closer to the right-brain domain. While we technically-trained engineers may have always associated ourselves more closely with the study of science, our discipline actually has more in common with art. Mobile phones, MP3 players, and digital cameras are hardly universal truths waiting to be discovered. Those devices and systems are incremental evolutionary steps atop innovative ideas hatched by the creative minds of engineers. While we engineers are always trying to solve problems, the nature of our solutions is often well-distilled creativity. A problem may represent a universal truth, but normally an optimal solution does … Read More → "The Art of Embedded Design"

Tale of the Tools

Geologic time is difficult for humans to visualize. Great continents slamming into each other with epic force, reshaping the earth’s surface, don’t seem so impressive when the movement is slowed down to an almost imperceptible rate. The only time we notice the effect is when transients like earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions hint at the unwavering determination of the underlying forces. As electronic designers, however, we have some facility in dealing with alternate orders of magnitude in the time scale. We understand that nanoseconds and milliseconds are worlds apart, even though, as humans, we can& … Read More → "Tale of the Tools"

Remote Possibilities

The truth is, our fifth-grader has become the equivalent of a live-in Support Desk. True, my husband and I are the designers of the entertainment system. We did all the research and navigated the DLP, plasma, HDTV decision process. We determined the optimal configuration for the accompanying sound system, exercising liberal design reuse (read: we kept our old stereo equipment). But our kid is the one who has really taken the time to make everything sing. He challenges the performance potential of the system and identifies bugs (he’s the one who figured out the work-around for our & … Read More → "Remote Possibilities"

Altera Looks Forward

In the rough-and-tumble, day-to-day, my-chip’s-bigger-than-your-chip schoolyard scrap that characterizes the top tier of the FPGA industry, a glimpse of vision, long-term insight and strategy are a rare breath of fresh air. We often feel that the two toughest competitors in the business spend too much time staring each other down and not enough time strategizing on how to conquer more of the vast landscape of logic design opportunity waiting patiently at the forefronts of their fiefdoms. However, when we sat down this week with Danny Biran, Altera’s Vice President of Product and Corporate Marketing, vision … Read More → "Altera Looks Forward"

Bundling Performance

Every year, FPGA and Structured ASIC Journal has conducted a survey of design teams that have recently completed projects using FPGAs. We collect and analyze a large volume of responses from readers regarding their completed projects, and we publish and sell a detailed report to companies that have a vested interest in gathering data about the current behaviors of FPGA design teams. This is nothing unusual, as many media companies perform similar research and offer similar studies to their customers. This time, however, we noticed one thing that was unusual. There seems to be a shift that … Read More → "Bundling Performance"

Tyranny Take Two

If all of this is seems a bit confusing, you might want to re-read part one of this series – “Tyranny of the Metaphor,” (read) where we discussed the problems with planning software projects using conventional methods like PERT charts and Gantt diagrams. This time, however, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and start solving the problem one piece at a time. As with almost any good therapy, we need to look deep inside ourselves first. As a group, … Read More → "Tyranny Take Two"

Just What is Algorithmic Synthesis?

In a traditional FPGA design flow, crafting the hardware architecture and writing VHDL or Verilog for RTL synthesis requires considerable effort. The code must follow a synthesis standard, meet timing, implement the interface specification, and function correctly. Given enough time, a design team is capable of meeting all these constraints. However, time is one thing that is always in short supply. Deadlines imposed by time to market pressures often force designers to compromise, resulting in them to settle for ‘good enough’ by re-using blocks and IP that are over designed for their application.

In the … Read More → "Just What is Algorithmic Synthesis?"

More and Moore

Price, Performance, and Power – the three Ps of Moore’s Law — have fueled four decades of technological fury. Each new process node brought us more gates per square meter of silicon, reducing price. Each shrink of the gate also brought us faster toggle rates, giving higher performance, and each narrowing also gave us the opportunity to operate at lower supply voltages, giving less dynamic power consumption. It seemed as if everything would improve exponentially forever.

Of course, nothing is free. There has always been another exponential curve at work as well – that … Read More → "More and Moore"

featured blogs
Sep 27, 2020
https://youtu.be/EUDdGqdmTUU Made in "the Alps" Monday: Complete RF Solution: Think Outside the Chip Tuesday: The First Decade of RISC-V: A Worldwide Phenomenon Wednesday: The European... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ...
Sep 25, 2020
What do you think about earphone-style electroencephalography sensors that would allow your boss to monitor your brainwaves and collect your brain data while you are at work?...
Sep 25, 2020
Weird weather is one the things making 2020 memorable. As I look my home office window (WFH – yet another 2020 “thing”!), it feels like mid-summer in late September. In some places like Key West or Palm Springs, that is normal. In Pennsylvania, it is not. My...
Sep 25, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at different ways of accessing a single bit in a memory, including the use of multiplexors.] Today we'€™re going to look more specifically at memory cells '€“ these things we'€™ve been calling bit cells. We mentioned that there are many...