feature article archive
Subscribe Now

Racing for the Gap

As suppliers jockey for position in offering products that hit the gap between the flexibility and risk-free design offered by FPGA and the performance and unit-cost advantages of cell-based ASIC, unlikely alliances are inevitable. In this case, ASIC design tool leader Synopsys is teaming with leading FPGA vendor Altera to jointly develop solutions for the design and production of Structured ASICs.

Altera has long touted their HardCopy structured ASIC as a clean cost-reduction path from an FPGA-based development, prototype, and early production platform to a cost-reduced, performance-optimized mask-programmed equivalent. Altera is betting that the advantages of programmable … Read More → "Racing for the Gap"

Virtex-4

In the 90s, it was obvious that within the decade, exploding gate counts would outstrip our ability to design. The popular debate topic at that time was how the “white space” would be used. “White space” represented the difference between the number of available gates on a semiconductor device, and the number of gates we could successfully design correctly using current methodologies. Speculation ran rampant that large amounts of RAM, immense IP blocks, and system-on-chip integration would help us fill some of the space, but the overall question remained.

When FPGAs burst onto … Read More → "Virtex-4"

Leveraging On-Chip Debug for VME

Introduction

Galileo Avionica needed an easy-to-use VME BUS monitor that could be used by both hardware and software engineers working on VME-based projects. Using a plug-in VME board with an Altera FPGA, embedded DiaLite virtual instrumentation from Temento Systems, and a TCL/TK-based custom human interface, an innovative solution was crafted that allows simple, multi-use analysis of the VME bus by engineers from different disciplines with widely varied levels of experience and expertise.

This article describes how DiaLite Instrumentation (DLI) was used to build a custom tool by taking advantage of the capability … Read More → "Leveraging On-Chip Debug for VME"

Catapult C

Electronic design automation has its own secret little cold fusion. An innovation that everyone quietly hopes is possible but publicly disavows. A development that would make life beautiful, dogs and cats live happily together, and money grow on trees. This missing link is “behavioral synthesis,” the direct compilation of untimed algorithmic descriptions into practical hardware architectures. Once this is possible, digital hardware designers, the micro-architectural mavens that create much of the magic in today’s ASIC and FPGA designs, will no longer be necessary. All of their relevant expertise, tricks and techniques will be … Read More → "Catapult C"

FPGA Simulation

When someone uses the words “verification” and “FPGA” in the same sentence, I’m always suspicious. In the ASIC design world, where risk avoidance is everything, “verification” is a sacred term. “Verification” is the long pole in the tent, the most time-consuming phase of the design cycle. “Verification” is what you do to protect your job so you’re not blamed with an expensive and time-consuming re-spin of an ASIC design. “Verification” is what EDA companies have learned to trust as their bread-and-butter. … Read More → "FPGA Simulation"

featured blogs
May 22, 2020
As small as a postage stamp, the Seeeduino XIAO boasts a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ processor running at 48 MHz with 256 KB of flash memory and 32 KB of SRAM....
May 22, 2020
Movies have the BAFTAs and Academy Awards. Music has the GRAMMYs. Broadway has the Tonys. Global footballers have the Ballon d’Or. SI/PI engineers have the DesignCon 2020 Best Paper Award? Really? What’s that? Many people are familiar with annual awards mentioned....
May 22, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at the complexities of cache in a multicore processor.] OK, time for a breather and for some review. We'€™ve taken quite the tour of computing, both in an IoT device (or even a laptop) and in the cloud. Here are some basic things we looked ...
May 21, 2020
In this time of financial uncertainty, a yield-shield portfolio can protect your investments from market volatility.  Uncertainty can be defined as a quantitative measurement of variability in the data [1]. The more the variability in the data – whet...