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Software to an FPGA: Thinking Hardware for DSP

Authored on: Jun 28, 2007 by Susannah Martin

Technical Paper / Conference Paper

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Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) can provide a fast, cost effective solution to many of today's complex demands for DSP functionality. However, many DSP engineers have traditionally focused on software, and may not know where to start when it comes to hardware. This paper will offer an introduction to implementing DSP functionality in hardware by exploring three topics: architecture choices, modern FPGA hardware features, and design methodologies. Several implementations of an FIR filter design example will be presented in order to illustrate these topics. Finally, three distinct design methodologies will be discussed: design with Intellectual Property (IP), traditional design with Hardware Description Languages (HDLs), and compiling the C programming language into hardware using some of today's new tools.

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