Brian Durwood, CEO , Impulse Accelerated Technologies
EETimes (6/19/2014 06:10 PM EDT)
Video and imaging circuitry only changes one way. Higher resolution, higher frame rates, and lower power requirements (particularly for UAV applications) equates to higher capacity and complexity. This is driving some software developers to sample the technique of offloading processor functions to run in parallel in field programmable gate arrays (FPGA).
While not difficult, there can be resource, timing, and other issues that may frustrate a first-time user. New platforms and compilation techniques have made it easier (but not easy) to offload and reconfigure software code to run in hardware. This article is written by experienced professionals in the tools, IP, and platform side of FPGAs -- it is aimed at software developers interested in sampling software-to-hardware compilation. It works to explain the architectural choices that
The disruption of microprocessor-only architectures appears to be increasing. The growth of density, speed, and portability of video/imaging systems is taxing the ability of conventional processors to keep up. GPU, FPGA, and ASSP alternatives are knocking off certain design types -- for good reason. At the "bleeding edge" of frame rates and resolution, the amount of math processed is taxing system architectures. Parallel processing is a theoretical solution if you look at the math. FPGAs are safe, non-exotic parallel processors, mostly within the budget and skill levels of most teams. Software developers are used to HLLs, but often cannot practically use 100% of FPGA features. Using HLL-to-FPGA cross-compilation can often populate gates quicker than hand coding. And HLLs may do things "smarter", although a brilliant hand coder will always beat an average HLL coder in terms of Quality of Results (QoR), but there are thousands of the latter and only a handful of the former.
Different types of system architecture are emerging, including SoC (System-on-Chip), CPU co-processing, and "line-speed" processing.
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