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If You Could Have the Ideal Programmable Logic Device, What Would it Be?

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seantellis
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Ideal features
seantellis   6/28/2016 12:57:07 AM
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I'm mainly a hobbyist, so in that context, I would want something that behaved like a modern microcontroller:
  • Standardised interface and bitfile format for programming
  • Wide range of sizes with the same architecture
  • Smallest sizes hobbyist-friendly (i.e. DIP packages)
  • Open source tools
  • Nonvolatile memory on-board for configuration data
  • Onboard clock module
  • Integrated CPU (ARM based, naturally)
  • Single supply

Basically, something as easy to get started with as possible - hook up a USB data connection and a 3.3v supply, and off we go.

betajet
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If and only if
betajet   6/27/2016 7:23:53 PM
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I was around when FPGAs first hit the market.  At that time they were slow and expensive and thus not very compelling as a product.  The Xilinx 4000 series was much more interesting, but again very expensive.  The first family that was really exciting to me was the Xilinx Spartan series, especially the Spartan-II and Spartan-IIE.  Those were very nice chips: clean architecture, quite fast, and reasonably cheap.

Around 1990 I thought FPGAs were a very promising technology and could be extremely successful if and only if the vendors published the internal architecture so that anybody could write tools for them.  The fact that they didn't is IMO why ARM processors are so dirt cheap and ubiquitous while FPGAs remain a "boutique" technology.

These days my favorite architecture is Lattice iCE40 because Project IceStorm reverse-engineered the internals and you can get open-source tools.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: old news but ....
Max The Magnificent   6/27/2016 6:08:23 PM
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@realjjj: Deep learning is one. Our computers are not well suited for that and all key segments will require it, from glasses and robots to IoT and server.

That's a good one -- as little as 3 to 4 years ago deep learning seemed to be of achademic interrest only -- now just a few years later it's not just dipping its toes in the mainstream -- it's plunged right it and it's appearing everywhere -- it's like "A technology for all seasons" type thing

realjjj
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old news but ....
realjjj   6/27/2016 5:40:26 PM
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Deep learning is one. Our computers are not well suited for that and all key segments will require it, from glasses and robots to IoT and server.

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