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Features, Design Tools, and Application Domains of FPGAs

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3 Author(s)

In the past two decades, advances in programmable device technologies, in both the hardware and software arenas, have been extraordinary. The original application of rapid prototyping has been complemented with a large number of new applications that take advantage of the excellent characteristics of the latest devices. High speed, very large number of components, large number of supported protocols, and the addition of ready- to-use intellectual property cores make programmable devices the preferred choice of implementation and even deployment in mass production quantities. This paper surveys the advanced features, design tools, and application domains for field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The main characteristics and structure of modern FPGAs are first described to show their versatility and abundance of available design resources. Software resources are also discussed, as they are the main enablers for the efficient exploitation of the design capabilities of these devices. Current application domains are described, such as configurable computing, dynamically reconfigurable systems, rapid system prototyping, communication processors and interfaces, and signal processing. This paper also presents the authors' prospective view of how FPGAs will evolve to enter new application domains in the future.

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Industrial Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 4 )