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Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups

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7/28/2010 02:37 PM EDT

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fpgachip
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re: Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
fpgachip   9/3/2010 4:01:49 AM
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No big deal really. Tabula's space time technology is nothing more than serially reading out pages of a config ram. Consider a N x M array of ram bits. These bits configure a basic LUT just like Xilinx or Altera config rams. Now imagine 8 of these N x M ram arrays grouped together. Normally to read out 8 different pages require a 3 bit select. But obviously you can also do it with 8 serial decoded page select bits. Having 8 serial bits means a 8 bit page select register which can shift at multi Ghz speed to select each N x M page in sequential order. Easy when it's just a 8 bit shift register. So each of the 8 pages are sequentially read out of the config ram to reconfig the LUT to do a different function. Now obviously you need some FFs to hold the value or context of the previous page of config ram while you shift to the next one. Of course, the big trick is how to map a Verilog or HDL design into sequential paged logic. But the solution is not that hard if you think about it. I'll leave it to the student. email me when you think you have the answer.

Sheetal.Pandey
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re: Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
Sheetal.Pandey   8/19/2010 9:42:58 PM
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Its tough for FPGA startups to remain in the business for long as Xilinx, Altera,Actel and other establised names in the market. Also demand and supply issues are always there.

Robert.Basil
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re: Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
Robert.Basil   7/29/2010 4:08:32 PM
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There is a FPGA company called Siliconblue Technologies that is relatively new and hopefully doing well. I have designed their devices into several products. No earth shattering voodoo in the devices just very low power and very low cost. They also put OTP memory in the device so you don't need a configuration PROM once you are satisfied with your design. Pretty sweet. Tools have been a little cranky but usable, well worth the trouble. rbasil@ieee.org

Elvis.Dowson_#1
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re: Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
Elvis.Dowson_#1   7/29/2010 8:22:09 AM
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oh, this gets better, there's a company called TesseracTech that is touting a 4D FPGA technology. http://www.techfocusmedia.net/fpgajournal/feature_articles/20100330-4d/ "TesseracTech is pushing the limits of both physics and credibility with the announcement, which they emphasize is just a technology roadmap - with more details to come as the family gets closer to volume production." This is akin to a showdown between Dr. Who and his nemesis The Master.

Elvis.Dowson_#1
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re: Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
Elvis.Dowson_#1   7/29/2010 7:58:29 AM
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I just took a quick look at the Tabula website, and the first think that struck me about temporal reconfiguration is loss of concurrency and parallelism. I think its very difficult for an FPGA company to stay afloat, and I think Xilinx is doing an amazing job pushing the envelope with its 6-series and 7-series FPGA processors. Customers need to also consider including Tablua's FPGA's into their products, and Tablua doesn't have a development kit for the ABAX 3PLD. I don't see a compelling enough reason to even shift or consider the Tabula FPGAs, and if that's first impressions, then I doubt Tablua would last long, I'd give it 5 years max before the company winds up or gets acquired due to losses, and its IP bought over by a larger company,

DrFPGA
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re: Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
DrFPGA   7/28/2010 4:44:19 PM
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I remember the first time I heard about using RAM as logic- I laughed out load (this was before LOL was invented, by the way). I was designing error correction logic for memories at the time, so that might have fueled my initial response. Look where we are today. I guess I was expecting (hoping) the Tabula technology would give me a similar slap on the back of the head once it came out and the implementation and advantages became obvious. I'm still hopeful, but the lack of product details and amount of 'magic' needed by the technology is a worry...

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