2028: FPGA platforms made designing faster and cheaper
|November 2028 is the 40th anniversary of ESD. Click here read other 2028 lookbacks.|
Remember those days when electronic engineers, called hardware designers, designed those chips called ASICs and ASSPs? They had to pay millions of dollars to buy EDA tools and then spend 18 months and even years designing those chips for a few or even just one product in an application space.
To make matters worse, if the specifications of the design changed or if a flaw was found late in the design cycle, the design team had spend millions of dollars to respin masks or even completely redesign the chip. That was hell...that is until they found out they could really replace the chip along with a few others on the printed-circuit board with a single FPGA.
Thank goodness FPGA technology, which was originally pioneered and today still overwhelmingly dominated by Xilinx, advanced at the rapid pace it did. Today, a consumer can program new functionality into their iBrain that years ago would have required the expertise of a software engineer or an embedded systems programmer.
And 25 years ago, back in 2003, it would also have taken several hardware engineers--fresh from realizing there were no longer any benefits (be it gate counts, performance, power, die size, or electromagnetic compatibility) to designing an ASIC or ASSP over an FPGA--to program an FPGA.
Today, if you want to upgrade your iBrain sensing system, your hydrogen-electric hybrid automobile, or your home's control system, you simply contact the vendor on your iBrain, Insto-pay them, and have them download the upgrade to your iBrain to make it more intuitive, or to your auto to make it more fuel efficient as it flows in autonomous unity and safety with the rest of traffic at 120 MPH, or to your home to ensure it waters the plants, turns on the heater, and prepares to play your favorite song as the garage door opens automatically, of course, as you pull into the driveway.
Indeed, today we take a lot for granted. FPGAs touch every electronic and electronic-bio system today. FPGA platforms allow inventors to quickly and easily implement their ideas in silicon or biosilicon by describing in English, not code (as in yesteryear), what they want their invention to do.
The Xilinx IDS 28.0 software simply interprets that description, and under the hood, assembles the building blocks--what used to be called IP--stitching the blocks together and automatically writing the firmware, software, and operating system to implement your invention. The IDS 28.0 software even determines on its own which functions to run in hardware and which ones to run in software.