David Bursky, EE TimesSUNNYVALE, Calif.
—Capitalizing on expiring FPGA patents and an accelerating shift of FPGAs into data-path processing, startup Velogix Inc. is developing a high-performance programmable-logic platform to run the billions of operations each second needed by applications like video and imaging, test and measurement, and communications. The platform is planned for unveiling by year's end.
As field-programmable gate arrays grow denser and faster, they can not only serve as logic-aggregation solutions but can also take on data-path-dominated designs that demand significant computational capabilities. Such on-chip resources as large amounts of memory and dedicated multiplier-accumulator elements allow these FPGAs to deliver billions of multiply-accumulate operations/second and implement complex system functions. This application shift has been noted by major FPGA suppliers like Xilinx and Altera, with their latest Virtex and Stratix platforms, respectively, as well as new companies like Velogix (Santa Clara, Calif.).
By leveraging the latest processes, FPGAs hit density and performance levels that let the chips do more data-path and computational processing, said Danny Biran, vice president of product and corporate marketing at Altera Corp. (San Jose, Calif.). Whether used as standalone processors or coprocessors, FPGAs can often replace such dedicated functions as digital signal processing, or can accelerate complex algorithms that the DSP block could not execute fast enough.
Altera's electronic system-level design tools make it easier to port algorithms to the FPGA by working at higher levels of abstraction, Birin said.
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