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Encyclopedia > Field programmable gate array

A field-programmable gate array or FPGA is a semiconductor device used to process digital information, similar to a microprocessor. It utilizes gate array technology that can be reprogrammed after it is manufactured, rather than having its programming fixed during the manufacturing — a programmable logic device. A semiconductor is a material with an electrical conductance that is intermediate to those of an insulator and a conductor. ... Microprocessors, including an Intel 80486DX2 and an Intel 80386 A microprocessor (abbreviated as µP or uP) is a computer electronic component made from miniaturized transistors and other circuit elements on a single semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) (aka microchip or just chip). ... A Gate array is an approach to the design and manufacture of ASICs. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Manufacturing is the transformation of raw materials into finished goods for sale, or intermediate processes involving the production or finishing of semi-manufactures. ... A programmable logic device or PLD is an electronic component used to build digital circuits. ...


FPGAs are generally slower than their application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) counterparts, and draw more power. However, they have several advantages such as a shorter time-to-market, and lower development costs (for quantities fewer than 10k). Certain FPGA vendors offer an ASIC made as a so-called hard copy of an FPGA — that is, an integrated circuit with the same functionality as the FPGA, but faster and consuming less power. An ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is an integrated circuit (IC) customised for a particular use, rather than intended for general-purpose use. ... In computer graphics and telecommunications, a hard copy is a permanent reproduction, on any media suitable for direct use by a person (in particular paper), of displayed or transmitted data. ...


Many modern FPGAs have the ability to be reprogrammed at "run time," and this is leading to the idea of reconfigurable computing or reconfigurable systemsCPUs that reconfigure themselves to suit the task at hand. Software-configurable microprocessors such as the Stretch S5000 adopt a hybrid approach by providing a processor core and an FPGA core on the same chip. Reconfigurable computing is computer processing with highly flexible computing fabrics. ... In electronics and computing, a reconfigurable system is a computer that can, by executing code, change the function of the digital circuits of which it is composed. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Microprocessors, including an Intel 80486DX2 and an Intel 80386 A microprocessor (abbreviated as µP or uP) is a computer electronic component made from miniaturized transistors and other circuit elements on a single semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) (aka microchip or just chip). ... Stretchs S5000 software-configurable processors combine the best of both worlds: the ease of software development associated with GPPs and DSPs, with the parallelism and flexibility of programmable logic like FPGAs. ...

Contents


Applications

Applications of FPGAs include DSP, software-defined radio, aerospace and defense systems, ASIC prototyping, medical imaging, computer vision, speech recognition, cryptography, bioinformatics, and a growing range of other areas. A digital signal processor (DSP) is a specialized microprocessor designed specifically for digital signal processing, generally in real-time. ... This sounds amazing!! A software-defined radio (SDR) system is a radio communication system which uses software for the modulation and demodulation of radio signals. ... Look up aerospace in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Aerospace refers to the broad field of air and space travel and the associated research. ... A plants defence The words defense (AmE) or defence (CwE) can refer to any of the following: For defense of a doctoral dissertation see thesis committee For the military term see defense (military) Civil defense measures and emergency preparedness In politics, defense may be a euphemism for war For... The acronym ASIC, depending on context, may stand for: Application-specific integrated circuit ASIC programming language Australian Securities and Investments Commission This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Medical imaging is the process by which physicians evaluate an area of the subjects body that is not normally visible. ... Computer vision can be described as the study of methods which can be used for allowing computers to understand images, or multidimensional data in general. ... Speech recognition technologies allow computers equipped with a source of sound input, such as a microphone, to interpret human speech, e. ... Cryptography has had a long and colourful history. ... Bioinformatics or computational biology is the use of techniques from applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, and computer science to solve biological problems. ...


Architecture

The architecture consists of an array of logic blocks and routing channels. Two I/O pads fit into the height of one row or the width of one column. All the routing channels have the same width (number of wires).

FPGA structure
FPGA structure

Each circuit must be mapped into the smallest square FPGA that can accommodate it. For example, a circuit containing 14 logic blocks and 10 I/O pads would be mapped into an FPGA consisting of a 4x4 array of logic blocks. The FPGA is an array or island-style FPGA. It consists of an array of logic blocks and routing channels. ...


The typical FPGA logic block consists of a 4-input lookup table (LUT), and a flip-flop, as shown at below. In computer science, a lookup table is a data structure, usually an array or associative array, used to replace a runtime computation with a simpler lookup operation. ... This article is about the electronic component. ...

Logic block
Logic block

There is only one output, which can be either the registered or the unregistered LUT output. The logic block has four inputs for the LUT and a clock input. Since the clock is normally routed via a special-purpose dedicated routing network in commercial FPGAs, do NOT route it or include it in your track count results. That is, you can completely ignore the clock net, since it is assumed to be routed on a special global network. In their Stratix II FPGAs, FPGA vendor Altera has implemented a new type of LUT (utilizing up to 7 inputs for some funtions, 6 inputs for general functions) called the ALM File links The following pages link to this file: Field-programmable gate array ... Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is a leading manufacturer of programmable logic devices. ...


The locations of the FPGA logic block pins are shown below.

Logic Block Pin Locations
Logic Block Pin Locations

Each input is accessible from one side of the logic block, while the output pin can connect to routing wires in both the channel to the right and the channel below the logic block. The FPGA logic block consists of a 4-input look-up table (LUT), and a flip flop, as shown below. ...


Each logic block output pin can connect to any of the wiring segments in the channels adjacent to it. The figure below should make the situation clear.

Logic block pin to routing channel interconnect
Logic block pin to routing channel interconnect

Similarly, an I/O pad can connect to any one of the wiring segments in the channel adjacent to it. For example, an I/O pad at the top of the chip can connect to any of the W wires (where W is the channel width) in the horizontal channel immediately below it. Each logic block input pin can connect to any one of the wiring segments in the channel adjacent to it. ...


The FPGA routing is unsegmented. That is, each wiring segment spans only one logic block before it terminates in a switch box. By turning on some of the programmable switches within a switch box, longer paths can be constructed.

Unsegmented FPGA routing
Unsegmented FPGA routing

Whenever a vertical and a horizontal channel intersect there is a switch box. In this architecture, when a wire enters a switch box, there are three programmable switches that allow it to connect to three other wires in adjacent channel segments. The pattern, or topology, of switches used in this architecture is the planar or domain-based switch box topology. In this switch box topology, a wire in track number one connects only to wires in track number one in adjacent channel segments, wires in track number 2 connect only to other wires in track number 2 and so on. The figure below illustrates the connections in a switch box. Similarly, an I/O pad can connect to any one of the wiring segments in the channel adjacent to it. ...

Switch box topology
Switch box topology

Whenever a vertical and a horizontal channel intersect there is a switch box. ...

FPGA design and programming

To define the behavior of the FPGA the user provides a hardware description language (HDL) or a schematic design. Common HDLs are VHDL and Verilog. Then, using an electronic design automation tool, a technology-mapped netlist is generated. The netlist can then be fitted to the actual FPGA architecture using a process called place-and-route, usually performed by the FPGA company's proprietary place-and-route software. The user will validate the map, place and route results via timing analysis, simulation, and other verification methodologies. Once the design and validation process is complete, the binary file generated (also using the FPGA company's proprietary software) is used to (re)configure the FPGA device. In electronics, a hardware description language or HDL is any language from a class of computer languages for formal description of electronic circuits. ... A schematic of the Washington Metro. ... VHDL or VHSIC Hardware Description Language, is commonly used as a design-entry language for FPGAs and ASICs in electronic design automation. ... The Verilog HDL is a hardware description language, used for the design of ASICs and FPGAs in order to make digital circuits. ... Electronic design automation (EDA) is the category of tools for designing and producing electronic systems ranging from printed circuit boards (PCBs) to integrated circuits. ... The word netlist can be used in several different domains, but perhaps the most popular is in the electronic design domain. ... Place and Route is a stage in design of: Printed circuit boards at which components are graphically placed on the board and the wires drawn between them. ... A simulation is an imitation of some real device or state of affairs. ... In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods. ...


To simplify the design there exists libraries of predefined complex functions and circuits, which have been tested and optimized to speed up the design process. Predefined circuits are commonly called intellectual property blocks. In electronic design and electronic design automation an intellectual property block, IP-block or IP core is a unit of reusable design, the use of which has been licensed to a third party. ...


Basic process technology types

  • SRAM - based on static memory technology. In-system programmable and re-programmable. Requires external boot devices. Usually CMOS.
  • Antifuse - One-time programmable. CMOS.
  • EPROM - Eraseable Programmable Read-Only Memory technology. Usually one-time programmable in production because of plastic packaging. Windowed devices can be erased with ultraviolet (UV) light. CMOS.
  • EEPROM - Electrically Eraseable Programmable Read-Only Memory technology. Can be erased, even in plastic packages. Some, but not all, EEPROM devices can be in-system programmed. CMOS.
  • FLASH - Flash-erase EPROM technology. Can be erased, even in plastic packages. Some, but not all, FLASH devices can be in-system programmed. Usually, a FLASH cell is smaller than an equivalent EEPROM cell and is therefore less expensive to manufacture. CMOS.
  • Fuse - One-time programmable. Bipolar.

Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory. ... Static CMOS Inverter CMOS (pronounced see-moss), which stands for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, is a major class of integrated circuits. ... Whereas a fuse is a device that is designed to permanently break an electrically conductive path (typically when the current through the path exceeds a specified limit) an antifuse is designed to permanently create a conductive path. ... An EPROM, or erasable programmable read-only memory, is a type of computer memory chip that retains its data when its power supply is switched off. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... A USB Flash Memory Card Flash memory is a form of EEPROM that allows multiple memory locations to be erased or written in one programming operation. ... 200A Industrial fuse. ...

Some FPGA manufacturers

  • Xilinx Xilinx has traditionally been the FPGA leader.
  • Altera Altera is the second FPGA heavyweight.
  • Lattice Semiconductor Lattice's focus is on low-cost, feature-optimized FPGAs and non-volatile, flash-based FPGAs.
  • Actel has antifuse (programmable-only-once) products.
  • QuickLogic has antifuse (programmable-only-once) products.
  • Cypress Semiconductor
  • Atmel

U.S. corporation Xilinx, Inc. ... Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is a leading manufacturer of programmable logic devices. ... Lattice Semiconductor Corporation is a leading manufacturer of high-performance programmable logic devices (PLDs), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), programmable mixed-signal and interconnect products, related software and intellectual property (IP). ... Cypress Semiconductor has been a public high tech company since 1988 (NYSE:CY). ... Atmel Corporation is a manufacturer of semiconductors, founded in 1984. ...

FPGA research

  • FPGA Research at the University of Toronto
  • LCR
  • FPGA Research Groups - a list of Universities and Research Groups that are engaged in FPGA development.

See also

CPLD stands for Complex Programmable Logic Device. ... Definition Gateware is the data which describes the configuration of a Field-programmable gate array or similar programmable logic device. ...

External links

  • comp.arch.fpga Google archive of Usenet groups, where people interested in FPGA hang out.
  • FPGA Articles FPGA articles from DSP-FPGA.com
  • Opencores A set of free IP cores that can be implemented in FPGAs
  • Comprehensive tutorial on FPGA
  • A comprehensive list of FPGA CPUs
  • A good FPGA tools overview
  • FPGAworld news, jobs, forums, demos etc.
  • FPGA Basics by Ray Andraka
  • Fpga4Fun various fpga projects
  • Information about signal processing on FPGA by RF Engines
  • FPGA Journal
  • Syndicated, a webzine about FPGA & ASIC
  • Retromicro FPGA experiments
  • FPGA Arcade, programmable gaming hardware
  • HDL FPGA tutorial
  • Creating PN Sequences with and FPGA

Note: FPGAs should not be confused with Flip-chip pin grid array, a form of integrated circuit packaging. Google, Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG), is a U.S. public corporation, initially established as a privately-held corporation in 1998, that designed and manages the Internet Google search engine. ... // PN SEQUENCES --Rdschwarz 15:28, 20 August 2005 (UTC) Spread Spectrum technology is being applied to many areas of modern communications such as Wireless Lans, Cellular Telephones, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Very Small Aperture Satellite Terminals (VSAT) just to name a few. ... Flip Chip Pin Grid Array - (FC-PGA) is the package of certain Intel Celeron, Pentium III, and Pentium 4 microprocessors. ...


 
 

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