Where or when NOT to use FPGAs…

Well, I praised a lot the advantages of FPGAs but for sure there are situations where you would not like to have them, besides there should be some drawbacks in the design methodology and programming approach.

One thing is clear, you have to be prepared for a concept shift when start using them. Human mind is used to think sequentially and CPUs are acting in this way. When programming a CPU in the C language you describe how the program behaves, compile that program and then download it into silicon and let the HW execute it.

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Why FPGAs?

Recently I began to ask myself whether FPGAs will start to play a major role in embedded field, in fact in those applications requiring fast processing power, they already have a big word to say.

So, which advantages can they bring into the play? Well I think the answer to this question resides in the short history about foundation of Xilinx company on Wikipedia:

While working for Zilog, Freeman wanted to create chips that acted like a blank tape, allowing users to program the technology themselves. At the time, the concept was paradigm-changing.[5] “The concept required lots of transistors and, at that time, transistors were considered extremely precious – people thought that Ross’s idea was pretty far out”, said Xilinx Fellow Bill Carter, who when hired in 1984 as the first IC designer was the company’s eighth employee

But nowadays silicon became really cheap and that vision practically opened the gates of a new era in which hardware resources could be considered infinite in terms of speed and space … As you may have guessed this implies a significant concept shift, almost completely breaking with the ancient paradigm of microcontroller programming and sequential execution flow of programs, but let’s see what could be the advantages:

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… like Pheonix bird

After a fairly long period of absence I thought is again time to write some impressions on this blog that I almost forgot of it. Indeed it has been a pretty long while since I last hit the “publish” button but never is too late …
But, what happened in the meantime? (techinically speaking) Well there have been pretty many things, I would say in their their majority gathered around programmable logic subject, there were some good tutorials on Xilinx’s page, but also I found the blog of this guy that it really guides the reader from basic things, like how to setup an FPGA development environment, to how to play with MicroBlaze configuration, it is indeed an intrpduction to FPGA design from scratch … probaly I will also start a new category on this blog about this matter 🙂 Read more of this post

Is it frustrating to work in the embedded industry?

Don’t get me wrong I am not frustrated …

… it is just because I find this topic more challenging than frustrating. I always wondered myself how difficult could be to work in the embedded industry compared to working into PC-desktop applications industry. At a first glance when comparing the job requirements for an embedded engineer position they may look not so diverse (it is just a personal/subjective opinion) as the ones for a database programmer of for a PC-desktop software developer. Actually the only “piece of software” that you’ll have to know and to use it in your embedded applications is the C language. More or less if you know the C language you are suitable for becoming a software engineer, it is not like you would be a programmer and you have to always learn new technologies or programming languages.

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Lecture 13

hello again! … after a couple of weeks of complete silence 🙂

…just want to go farther with Java classes of Mr Jhonathan Shewchuk.

it is good to remember that in the last lectures in the series, Lecture 12, there were told many interesting things about Abstract Classes and Java Interfaces, how are they useful and which is the differences between them. By the way …

do you remember the difference between the two?

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Microcontrollers vs FPGAs

…or the future of microcontrollers 🙂 woow that sounds geek!

I have to confess that I had no intention to switch the discussion from smartphones (or Java lectures) towards such topic unless I had not received the newsletter from embedded.com: Tech Focus: FPGAs vs. MCUs/MPUs: It’s no longer either/or .

Well… I would think this is an absolutely valid topic, which is the next embedded design trend, how will it look like, the future of embedded systems, will we still largely use microcontrollers, or will those be gradually replaced by FPGAs?

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Lectures 11 & 12

it had to come one moment … inheritance (maybe one of the the most important concepts in object -oriented  programming, along with the two other ones: polymorphism and encapsulation )

1:06 today is the day …


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