FPGA or DSP Processor - Parameters to Make the Right Choice

Introduction

Digital Signal Processing (DSP) has a huge global market that is growing fast day by day with rapidly evolving sophisticated modern electronics applications like 3G wireless, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), multimedia systems, radar and satellite systems, medical systems, image-processing applications and consumer electronics. These sophisticated DSP applications pose many conflicting challenges to system designers and application developers in terms of cost and...

Using GHDL for interactive simulation under Linux

October 24, 2011

The opensource and free VHDL simulator 'GHDL' has been out for many years, but like many other opensource tools, it has caught limited attention from the industry. I can hear you thinking: 'If it doesn't cost money, it can't be worth it'. Well, I hope this short overview will change your mind and even whet your appetite for more. Because, using some extensions, you can do some quite funky stuff with it that will save you a lot of debugging work. For example, simulate your real world software...

VHDL tutorial - A practical example - part 3 - VHDL testbench

In part 1 of this series we focused on the hardware design, including some of the VHDL definitions of the I/O characteristics of the CPLD part.  In part 2, we described the VHDL logic of the CPLD for this design.  In part 3, we will show the entire VHDL design and the associated tests used to prove that we have, in fact, designed what we started out to design.

First, let's pull all of the pieces of the prior design together into a...

Verilog vs VHDL

June 13, 2011

Introduction

Verilog and VHDL are two industry standard Hardware Description Languages (HDL) that are used in writing programs for electronic integrated circuits (ICs) i.e., ASIC and FPGA. Many system designers face this issue: which HDL language to choose – Verilog or VHDL. The answer is by no means easy or trivial. Both of these languages are widely compared and contrasted without any clearly defined victor. Both of them have their own merits and demerits and have different...

VHDL tutorial - A practical example - part 2 - VHDL coding

May 27, 2011

In part 1 of this series we focused on the hardware design, including some of the VHDL definitions of the I/O characteristics of the CPLD part.  In part 2, we will describe the VHDL logic of the CPLD for this design.

With any design, the first step to gather the requirements for the job at hand.  From part 1 of this article, I have copied two sections that address some of the requirements for the CPLD design.

The data acquisition engine has the...

VHDL tutorial - A practical example - part 1 - Hardware

May 18, 20111 comment

In previous posts I described some simple VHDL examples.  This time let's try something a little more complex. This is part one of a multiple part article.  This is intended to be a detailed description of one of several initial designs that I developed for a client.  This design never made it into a product, but a similar design was used and is currently being produced.  As a considerable amount of work was put into this effort, I decided to share this design...

Introduction to FPGA Technology

May 12, 2011
Overview

FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array. An FPGA is an integrated circuit (IC) that can be programmed and configured by the embedded system developer in the field after it has been manufactured. FPGA is a semi-conductor device which is not limited to any pre-defined hardware function; it is rather highly flexible in its functionality and may be configured by the embedded system developer according to his design requirements. FPGAs use pre-built logic blocks and programmable...

FPGA Bloggers Needed - New Reward System

Are you an FPGA expert? If you are an have an interest in sharing your knowledge with the FPGA community, you might be interested in the new reward system for bloggers (see the blogs section here).

The rewards will be based on page impressions, meaning that the more traffic a blog post will get, the faster it will generate rewards for the author.

Basically, a given blog post will generate $25 to the author for every 250 unique pageviews, up to a maximum total reward of$500 per blog post...

USB-FPGA : Introduction

January 12, 20111 comment

This blog is an introduction to a series of blogs I hope to write.  The blogs will cover the design and experiences I had on a project that spanned the last 6 years.  The project was the development of an USB FPGA board and the supporting gateware, firmware, and software.  The project has had different levels of activity over the years, ranging from none to some, but it has been an ongoing project, albeit, during sleepless nights.  Lately, I have ported the HDL (gateware)...

Half-band filter on Xilinx FPGA

1. DSP48 Slice in Xilinx FPGA

There are many DSP48 Slices in most Xilinx® FPGAs, one DSP48 slice in Spartan6® FPGA is shown in Figure 1, the structure may different depending on the device, but broadly similar.

Figure 1: A whole DSP48A1 Slice in Spartan6 (www.xilinx.com)

2. Symmetric Systolic Half-band FIR

Figure 2: Symmetric Systolic Half-band FIR Filter

3. Two-channel Symmetric Systolic Half-band FIR

Figure 3: 2-Channel...

Are you kidding me?

July 1, 2012

If I understand the blog entry [1] correctly, it's saying the industry is ready for high level synthesis (HLS), well almost.  The blog states, the higher abstraction level will be achieved via C/C++/SystemC (the C-centric flows).  A quote from the blog.

... getting close, and one of the biggest hurdles still to overcome is the skill set -- the combination of hardware design expertise and C++ -- ...

C/C++/SystemC, are you kidding...

February 5, 2019

Designing a FPGA Micro Pt2 - Clock and Counter build and test.

June 26, 20121 comment

So last time I looked and talked about designing my own PIC12F509. I concluded by talking shortly about the clock that is used inside the chip. If you have not read this it may be a good time to jump back and read what I have written so far. I’ll be putting links back at the top of every blog from now on to help.State Machine ‘v’ Micro in a FPGADesigning a FPGA Micro Pt1 - Start The ClockOk so this last week I started writing the VHDL code for my PIC core that I’ll be...

Homebrew CPUs: Color Languages

June 17, 2015
Color Languages

Here on bizarro we program using -- get this – text!  Our other senses - hearing, touch, smell, are not used at all. Even our visual perception is greatly underutilized - we just use two-dimensional text on a flat display a foot in front of our eyes.

Color is just beginning to be used, although in a lame syntax coloring way only. Granted, it makes it easier to detect stupid syntax errors such as misspelled keywords. Sadly, color carries zero semantic or...

Tool install for examples

Most of my examples on fpgarelated use MyHDL for the hardware description and another Python package myhdl_tools rhea.build to control the FPGA vendor's software. This means everything is controlled and run from the Python environment.

Install the following to compile the posted examples:

MyHDL package : pip myhdl or myhdl github myhdl_tools : myhdl_tools bitbucket rhea...

Cutting a Path Forward

Introduction

As a newcomer to the community, I thought I would start off by introducing myself, and give a little information about what has drawn me to start working with FPGAs.

My day job is as a professional software developer:  Figure out what people want; figure out how to make it happen (if possible); and then wrangle code, databases, networks, and servers into giving the correct responses or actions as necessary.

By night, however, I've been working on my...

Grandiose Delusions

May 3, 2012

Recently on the MyHDL mailing-list there have been discussions about some other immature Python/HDL tools.  In these discussion it was mentioned, how over the years, there has not been a strong set of open-source IP developed using MyHDL.  For those that might be unfamiliar with the term IP (intellectual property) it is a term widely used in digital hardware to refer to reusable hardware components or blocks.

Many design languages have relied on that first big...

Elliptic Curve Digital Signatures

December 9, 2015

A digital signature is used to prove a message is connected to a specific sender.  The sender can not deny they sent that message once signed, and no one can modify the message and maintain the signature. The message itself is not necessarily secret. Certificates of authenticity, digital cash, and software distribution use digital signatures so recipients can verify they are getting what they paid for.

Since messages can be of any length and mathematical algorithms always use fixed...

Choosing an Implementation Approach

May 10, 2018
What one man can do, another can do!--The Edge (1997) Choose the hill you want to die on.--Common saying attributed to the United States Marine Corps Planning out an FPGA Implementation

In my first article, I gave a high-level view of the project that brings me into the world of FPGA development. At the end, I tried to break down the areas of development that would be involved, and some of the knowledge and expertise I would probably have to gain in order to make it a...