Monday, March 15, 2010

Xilinx webinar notes, FPGA station

Here's the notes I took during the Xilinx "Achieving 1000 GMACs of DSP Performance with Xilinx FPGAs" webinar.

A GMAC is Giga Multiply-Accumulate Operations Per Second. This is somewhat similar to the measurement of "operations per second" for processors, and provides one way to compare and contrast circuitry that is capable of doing multiply-accumulates.

The thing that got my attention was what I sketched out on page 4, which is how many more MACs FPGAs are currently doing (with the Virtex and Spartan 6 series) when compared to "conventional" DSPs.

I'm reading a book on reconfigurable computing, which is an area of computing that has "settled" for using FPGAs. A "true" reconfigurable computer isn't exactly modeled or enabled by an FPGA, but since FPGAs are a commodity device, the field of reconfigurable computing seems to have coalesced around them. The book essentially echoes what the "sellinars" say. FPGAs are a "for real" DSP device.

What I got from this is that using FPGAs for MEP is not misguided. :+)

Anyone coming along with another development station? I've read through the short tutorial for using Xilinx ISE 10.1 and might actually be able to show off a "hello world" application sometime today.

-Michelle W5NYV

Potestatem obscuri lateris nescis.

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