In today’s IT-intensive world, operating systems, programmable hardware, and chipsets are becoming more and more important. The internet and the devices that we use rapidly evolve. This combines with innovations like artificial intelligence, and digital technology behind it all hustles to keep up. Sometimes, the answer to a new question in data processing is an old one. That is true of field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs.
There are two main aspects of technology; hardware and software. They are distinct, but they often overlap. FPGAs were originally designed to replace read-only memory and simple logic devices in the 1980s. The device was intended as a hardware tool and served that role for decades. However, it has been reconfigured for integration into software systems.
An FPGA is an integrated circuit, just like a CPU or GPU. It is unique from other ICs because it is wholly customizable to fit any requirement, with the only limit being the physical capacity of the circuit board. All other ICs, no matter how configurable, still have a limit to what they can be programmed to do. That is not the case with an FPGA.
How It Works
An FPGA is a semiconductor device with a customizable logic block matrix. In the same manner, as other ICs, a hardware description language (HDL), is used to program an FPGA.It has become easier to program and adapt FPGAs because of modern unified software platforms.
The Benefits of FPGAs
The main reason for the use of this technology in software development is to replace CPUs and GPUs. This flexibility of an FPGA sets it apart from CPUs and GPUs in a special way.
There is a lot of versatility in CPU technologies, but it still has shortcomings. The basic hardware cannot be changed once it is set. Every program that can be run on a CPU is within the limits of the set hardware. GPUs have the same limits on variability as CPUs, but they overcome a significant flaw by allowing multiple computations to be run concurrently.
FPGAs are both configurable and can process large amounts of data at once. In fields where users require real-time information processing, and greater flexibility, FPGAs give developers and engineers better results. In addition, FPGAs have other benefits such as lower latency and better connectivity.
How FPGAs Can Be Used
This technology has only recently been adopted for use by the software technology industry. The established method of creating programs for software architecture is typically one of two ways; either adapt the template of an existing circuit board such as a CPU or create a bespoke circuit board for the specific program.
Integrating the program into the circuit is another matter entirely. FPGAs solve both problems seamlessly by allowing multiple programs to be integrated into one circuit. This flexibility of purpose has given FPGAs a wide array of uses in diverse industries. For example, the stratix 10 GX board is used in a network processor, but it also finds use in cyber security and data center acceleration. From aerospace engineering to artificial intelligence to national defense, FPGAs are forming the backbone of computing systems all over the world.