Overview of FPGAs

Field-Programmable Gate Array, or FPGA, is an acronym for a hardware chip that can perform logical operations. They consist of an integrated network or groups of programmable logic gates that are distributed across a chip in circuits. Individual customizable logic blocks, also known as CLBs, are the building blocks of FPGAs. These CLBs are connected via programmable interconnects. The benefits of FPGA are recognized for their capacity to be programmed when implemented in the field, in contrast to other types of semiconductor chips (such ASICs), which are typically rigid in their design and execution, as implied by the name of the semiconductor technology.

FPGA chips are among the most significant items that are based on FPGAs and play a significant role in the creation of numerous technological advancements. In this essay, we’ll outline the most typical FPGA applications and give instances of how they’re used in various scenarios. There are different FPGA chip kinds, and some are chosen over others in specific settings and applications. FPGA includes many family series such as Zynq-7000 SoC, FPGA Spartan-7, Artix-7 FPGA, Virtex-7 FPGAs, Kintex-7 FPGAs, and so on which are widely used in high-end market.

Six primary applications for FPGAs

  • Communication System
  • High-speed interface design
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • IC Design
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Video Image Processing

Communication System

The application of FPGAs in the field of communication can be said to be omnipotent. Thanks to the characteristics of the internal structure of FPGAs, it is easy to implement a distributed algorithmic structure, which is very beneficial for the implementation of high-speed digital signal processing in wireless communication. Because in wireless communication systems, many functional modules usually require a large number of filtering operations, and these filtering functions often require a large number of multiplication and accumulation operations.

And by implementing distributed arithmetic structures through FPGAs, these multiplication and accumulation operations can be efficiently implemented. In particular, Xilinx FPGAs integrate a large number of resources suitable for the communications field such as: baseband processing (channel cards), interface and connectivity functions, and RF (radio frequency cards) in three categories:

  • Baseband processing resources Baseband processing mainly includes channel coding and decoding (LDPC, Turbo, convolutional codes and RS codes coding and decoding algorithms) and implementation of synchronization algorithms (WCDMA system cell search, etc.).
  • Interface and connectivity resources Interface and connectivity functions mainly include the implementation of high-speed communication interfaces (PCI Express, Ethernet MAC, high-speed AD/DA interfaces) to the outside of the wireless base station and the corresponding internal backplane protocols (OBSAI, CPRI, EMIF, LinkPort).
  • Application resources for RF The main RF applications include peak shaving (PC-CFR), pre-distortion (Predistortion), up/down conversion (single channel, multi-channel DDC/DUC for WiMAX, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, and CDMA2000 systems), and modulation/demodulation. In conclusion, if you understand FPGA, you may undoubtedly have a significant impact on the communications industry.

High-speed interface design

In reality, after reading about the capabilities of FPGA in the areas of communication and digital signal processing, I believe we should have anticipated that FPGA would also be useful in the design of high-speed interfaces. Its distinct benefits in the field of high-speed interface design are determined by its high-speed processing power and hundreds of thousands of IOs. For instance, I may need to interact with the computer to process data, transfer processed data to the computer for display, or interface with the computer to process data. The PC has more options for connecting to other systems, including ISA, PCI, PCI Express, PS/2, USB, and more.

When I need many interfaces, I need more than one of these interface chips, which will undoubtedly make our hardware peripherals complex, the volume becomes enormous, and will be extremely inconvenient, but if the use of FPGA advantage immediately out. This is the traditional practice, which is the corresponding interface using the corresponding interface chip, such as PCI interface chip. There is no longer a need for as many interface chips because the various interface logic can be integrated inside the FPGA. This, along with the utilization of DDR memory, will make our interface data processing more practical.

Artificial Intelligence

If you like to pay attention to the news of the technology sector, you will be filled with 5G communication and artificial intelligence recently, indeed the 21st century has unknowingly gone to 2022, during these two decades, artificial intelligence has developed rapidly, and the smooth development of 5G also makes artificial intelligence like a tiger, it is foreseeable that the future will be the world of artificial intelligence. For example, autonomous driving, which requires the collection of various traffic signals such as driving routes, traffic lights, roadblocks and driving speed, requires the use of a variety of sensors, which can use FPGAs for integrated driving and fusion processing of these sensors.

There are also some intelligent robots, which need to collect and process images or process sound signals, so FPGAs can be used to complete the front-end information processing of artificial intelligence systems.

IC Design

A version of theEmbedded IC must undergo sufficient simulation testing and FPGA verification to ensure its success. Simulation verification entails running simulation software on a server for testing, akin to ModelSim/VCS software; FPGA verification primarily entails porting the IC code to the FPGA, using FPGA synthesis tools for synthesis, layout wiring to eventually generate bit files, and then downloading to the FPGA verification board for verification. For complex IC, we can also split the FPGA code into smaller The circuit created by the FPGA is remarkably similar to the actual IC chip.

This makes it much easier for our IC designers to check their IC designs. FPGAs are used for a variety of other purposes, including high-speed data collection in the electric power sector, high-speed, large-data volume analog acquisition and transmission in the medical sector, radar, satellite, and guiding systems in the military, among others.

Digital Signal Processing

The primary benefit of FPGA is its parallel processing design, which enables it to do the task of digital signal processing.

FPGAs are ideally suited for repetitive digital signal processing activities like FIR and other digital filters because to this parallel methodology. FPGA performance greatly outperforms the serial execution architecture of general-purpose DSP processors for high-speed parallel digital signal processing applications, and the voltage and drive capability of its interfaces are programmable rather than being dictated by the instruction set like traditional DSPs.

The instruction set’s clock cycle restriction prevents it from handling excessively fast signals, making it challenging to incorporate signals like LVDS with a rate level of Gbps. FPGAs are therefore frequently employed in the area of digital signal processing.

Video Image Processing

As technology advances, people’s expectations for image stability, clarity, brightness, and color are rising steadily, much like how standard definition (SD) gradually gave way to high definition (HD), and how they are now striving for Blu-ray grade images.

Due to the increasing complexity of the picture compression technique and the increasing amount of data that must be processed in real time, the simple use of ASSP or DSP can no longer handle such a big amount of data processing. When this happens, FPGAs’ benefits become clear since they can process data more effectively. As a result, even after accounting for cost, FPGAs are becoming more and more common in the market for image processing.

FPGAs other applications

Wired Communications: Complete solutions for serial backplanes, framer/MAC, reprogrammable networking linecard packet processing, and other technologies.

Wireless Communications: Solutions for wireless equipment in the areas of RF, base band, connection, transport, and networking, covering technologies like WCDMA, HSDPA, WiMAX, and others.

Medical: The Virtex FPGA and SpartanTM FPGA families can be used to address a variety of computational, display, and I/O interface needs for diagnostic, monitoring, and therapeutic applications.

Security: From access control to surveillance and safety systems, AMD provides solutions that address the changing requirements of security applications.

Storage and High Performance Computing: Solutions for servers, storage appliances, storage area networks (SAN), and network attached storage (NAS).

Aerospace & Defense: FPGAs that can withstand radiation as well as software for creating waveforms, processing images, and partially reconfiguring SDRs.

Pro AV & Broadcast: With Broadcast Targeted Design Platforms and solutions for top-tier professional broadcast systems, you can adapt to changing requirements more quickly and longer product life cycles.

Consumer Electronics: Next-generation, fully featured consumer applications that are affordable to implement, include convergent handsets, digital flat-panel displays, information appliances, home networking, and residential set-top boxes.

Industrial: Higher levels of flexibility, shorter time to market, and lower overall non-recurring engineering costs (NRE) are made possible for a variety of applications, including industrial imaging and surveillance, industrial automation, and medical imaging equipment by AMD FPGAs and targeted design platforms for Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM).