Lauro Rizzatti, Consultant
EETimes (April 30, 2021)
The 35-year-old field programmable gate array (FPGA) is one of the most impressive semiconductor devices ever created, short of the central processing unit (CPU). Today, it is more popular than ever before, reinvigorated by its intrinsic raw processing power and adaptability, a perfect match for accommodating the rapid evolution of the electronic industry. It does not show its age. Oddly, its very versatility is creating a dilemma for FPGA vendors.
Communications and networking stood out among applications that drove the FPGA’s early popularity because of frequent changes in their standards that necessitated field updates/grades, inconceivable with hard-wired ASIC implementations. In later years, a wide range of automotive, military, consumer and defense applications have been using FPGAs. Lately, the FPGA renaissance has been bolstered by progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and proliferation of AI applications. Prominent among AI applications is deep-learning acceleration (DLA).
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