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FPGA
By CIR CUITS 465 views
TECH

What Is FPGA? Uses, Applications, Working Principle

It stands for Field Programmable Gate Array. FPGA is related to programmable hardware devices. FPGA is not doing anything alone; It configures itself into any digital circuit you want. FPGA is in demand due to its complexity and flexibility in semiconductors. It provides a solution for various functions, emerging software flexibility, and increasing hardware efficiency. In this guide, we will explore the understanding of FPGA, its uses, advantages and disadvantages, and functional diagram.

What Is FPGA?

FPGAs are ‘FPGA structures’ because they allow customers to reconfigure the hardware. After the manufacturing process, FPGAs meet specific requirements for hardware. They upgrade and fix bugs, which is beneficial for remote deployment.

FPGAs have logic block interconnects that allow the connected blocks to do everything. FPGA confirms the basic building blocks of FPGA for complex tasks. It has an SoC design that can be placed on an FPGA device.

How Does FPGA Programming Work?

Its programming uses HDL to manipulate circuits. FPGA depends on the capabilities of your device. FPGA programming works through GPU or CPU programming. Because in FPGA, you don’t write a program that will run sequentially. All you have to do is use HDL to create the circuit and physically change the hardware.

The process is almost the same as writing code that turns into a binary file. You can do this without optimizing the device.

A program on an FPGA or how to program an FPGA requires gates and memory blocks to perform various operations. FPGAs allow low-cost maintenance and provide flexibility. You can adjust FPGA functions, such as power consumption and working memory.

What Are Various Types Of FPGA?

  • SRAM-Based FPGAs: In this FPGA, the memory is organized into static random access memory. It can be easily programmed and run anytime. SRAM-based FPGAs are reprogrammable and require external memory to store programs.
  • Flash-Based FPGAs: Flash-based FPGAs are configured in flash memory that can be programmed. It uses advanced processes and reduces the cost of power. It can integrate Flash into advanced logic processes. Flash-based FPGAs are similar to SRAM. Despite this, the system cost of this type of FPGA is low. It can be used in communication, medical, consumer, and other applications.
  • EEPROM-Based FPGAs: These FPGAs store their configuration in electrically erasable programmable memory, which is nonvolatile. They have two doors: one is floating, and the other is in the normal position. A charge is applied to the floating gate only when the voltage is high and the transistor is off. Under normal conditions, there is no charge on the floating gate, and its transitions typically behave like channel transistors.
  • FPGA Architecture: The basic setup of an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) is shown in Figure 1. It mainly consists of thousands of units called Configurable Logic Blocks (CLBs), all linked together by a customized network of connectors. This allows network signals to move between CLBs. There are also input/output (I/O) blocks that help the FPGA connect and communicate with external devices.

Different companies may call the CLB by other names such as logic block (LB), logic element (LE), or logic cell (LC).

Figure 1: Basic Structure

A closer look at CLB is given in Figure 2. Within each CLB, there is a feature called a lookup table (LUT). A LUT can store specific results of logic operations for various combinations of inputs, typically handling four to six inputs. Other standard parts you’ll find in a CLB include switches called multiplexers (muxes), full adders (which add), and flip-flops (which store bits).

The example in Figure 2 shows a CLB with different parts: two LUTs that each take three inputs, a full adder, a D-type flip-flop (which helps synchronize operations), a standard multiplexer, and two additional multiplexers that setup occurs during. FPGA is programmed.

This CLB can work in two ways. Typically, a LUT is coupled with a multiplexer to handle four inputs. In discrete mode for arithmetic operations, the LUT provides input to a full adder. Another multiplexer selects the output from the full adder or LUTs, and a third multiplexer determines whether the operation follows the FPGA’s clock or runs independently.

Modern FPGAs have more complex CLBs that can perform different functions with only a single block. Digital signal processors can perform more complex tasks such as multiplication, keeping track of values, calculations, and digital signal processing.

Applications

Microcontrollers and the Internet of Things are becoming less popular as FPGAs become more popular. Because they allow fast processing of multiple aspects. Here are the uses of FPGA:

  • Radio AstronomyRadio astronomy requires large amounts of data. They precisely process these large amounts of data with the help of FPGAs.
  • Speech RecognitionFPGAs help speech recognition systems work efficiently. It works by comparing a person’s voice with a stored pattern.
  • Scientific ResearchFPGAs are used in scientific research to perform various tasks. It also performs data acquisition, simulation, and high-performance computing.
  • Financial ServicesFPGAs are used in high-frequency trading systems (HFT). They process large amounts of financial data quickly.
  • Medical DevicesFPGAs are used in the medical industry, including imaging equipment, ultrasound machines, CT scanners, and MRI machines.
  • CryptographyFPGAs are used in cryptography to organize computational units into bit widths. It is also used in encrypting/decrypting and post-quantum cryptography.

Advantages:

  • FPGAs are widely used in computing devices for reconfigurable hardware requirements
  • It consumes low-cost maintenance
  • Fits processes High-speed data as compared to many other devices
  • It needs easy upgrades as compared to other software.
  • They are very flexible, and easily reused in the future.

Disadvantages:

  • These are slower than many other computing devices.
  • It consumes more power to optimize the ASIC.
  • Fail to extract data when production is in large quantity.
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