More and more embedded system designers are turning away from ASICs in favor of programmable logic devices (PLDs) — such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and digital signal processors (DSPs) — for faster time-to-market and budgetary requirements. However, although these devices have enjoyed broad market acceptance, they are not always ideal for meeting high-performance system requirements. A new category of PLDs has therefore been developed to address these needs: the field programmable object array (FPOA) represents the next generation of programmable logic, serving high-performance embedded applications such as machine vision, professional video, medical imaging and image processing.

The design methodology of an FPOA leverages the use of building blocks called “objects” rather than “gates” used in an FPGA. This object approach allows an FPOA to operate at 1 GHz and up to four times faster than an FPGA, while still offering all the benefits of a programmable logic device.

This white paper introduces MathStar’s Field Programmable Object Array. Its features include field re-programmability, 1 GHz performance, a 400-object array, high-speed I/O, and a streamlined design process.