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High performance implementations of unary functions are important in many applications e.g. in the wireless communication area. This paper shows the development and VLSI implementation of unary functions like the logarithmic and exponential function, by using a novel approximation methodology based on parabolic synthesis, which is compared to the well known CORDIC algorithm. Both designs are synthesized and implemented on an FPGA and as an ASIC. The results of such implementations are compared with metrics such as performance and area. The performance in the parabolic architecture is shown to exceed the CORDIC architecture by a factor 4.2, in a 65 nm Standard-VT ASIC implementation.