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Nolan Williams
Nolan Williams

Digital System Design With FPGA: Implementation...

This practical guide explores the development and deployment of FPGA-based digital systems using the two most popular hardware description languages, Verilog and VHDL. Written by a pair of digital circuit design experts, the book offers a solid grounding in FPGA principles, practices, and applications and provides an overview of more complex topics. Important concepts are demonstrated through real-world examples, ready-to-run code, and inexpensive start-to-finish projects for both the Basys and Arty boards.

Digital System Design with FPGA: Implementation...


"I joined Xilinx five years ago and have looked for a good, introductory book on FPGA-based design ever since because people have repeatedly asked me for my recommendation. Today, I found a brand new book to recommend to people wanting to learn about using programmable logic to design digital systems. It's titled -- Digital Systems Design with FPGA: Implementation Using Verilog and VHDL and... it] will take you from the basics of digital design and logic into FPGAs; FPGA architecture including programmable logic, block RAM, DSP slices, FPGA clock management, and programmable I/O; hardware description languages with an equal emphasis on Verilog and VHDL; the Xilinx Vivado Design Environment; and then on to IP cores including the Xilinx MicroBlaze and PicoBlaze soft processors. The book ends with 24 advanced embedded design projects." - Steve Leibson, Xcell Daily Blog

The book uses the Basys 3 to address the educational applications of FPGA and the Arty to demonstrate applications for its hobbyist/maker audience. It weaves theoretical concepts with practical application on the Basy and Arty boards so that readers can implement digital designs on the hardware and visualize the utilization of the FPGA device. Eventually, they can understand FPGA architecture and its use in digital and embedded systems.

The book begins with an introduction to digital design and FPGA architecture in chapters 1-2. It then delves into getting started with Vivado Design Suite, and using the popular hardware description languages (VHDL and Verilog). Chapters 7-10 include an introduction to typical digital circuits and elements in digital design circuits. Chapters 11-12 then elevate readers into some intermediate materials, including how to put soft core microcontrollers into FPGA, and how to use digital communication protocols (such as SPI).

The book introduces the specific boards used relatively early on, so from the beginning, readers are prepared to take the theory and do more than just problems on paper. With the book and boards, readers can actively learn digital design anytime and anywhere.

Selection of a method depends on the design and the designer. If the designer wants to deal more with hardware, then Schematic entry is a better choice. When the design is complex or the designer wants to realize the design in an algorithmic way then HDL is the better choice. Language based entry is faster but lag in performance and density. HDLs represent a level of abstraction that can isolate the designers from the details of the hardware implementation. Schematic based entry gives designers much more visibility into the hardware. Another method but rarely used is state machines. It is the better choice for the designers who think the design as a series of states. But the tools for state machine entry are limited. Design entry using the structural style is combination of both schematic and HDL. We preferred design entry by Verilog HDL in structural style to understand hardware details without much complexity.

Synthesis is the process which translates VHDL or Verilog code into a device netlist format i.e. a complete circuit with logical elements (gates, flip flops, etc.) for the design. If the design contains more than one sub designs, ex. to implement a processor, we need a CPU as one design element and RAM as another and so on, and then the synthesis process generates netlist for each design element. Synthesis process will check code syntax and analyze the hierarchy of the design which ensures that the design is optimized for the design architecture, the designer has selected. The resulting netlist(s) is saved to an NGC (Native Generic Circuit) file (for Xilinx Synthesis Technology (XST)). The Synthesis step gives an estimate of the hardware utilization. More actual resource utilization can be found after MAP process. The design summery for the test circuit is given below.

Nowthe design must be loaded on the FPGA. But the design must be converted to aformat so that the FPGA can accept it. BITGEN program deals with theconversion. The routed NCD file is then given to the BITGEN program to generatea bitstream (a .BIT file) which can be used to configure the target FPGAdevice. This can be done using a cable. Selection of cable depends on thedesign.

Abstract:This paper presents the hardware implementation of a stand-alone Electrical Capacitance Tomography (ECT) system employing a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The image reconstruction algorithms of the ECT system demand intensive computation and fast processing of large number of measurements. The inner product of large vectors is the core of the majority of these algorithms. Therefore, a reconfigurable segmented parallel inner product architecture for the parallel matrix multiplication is proposed. In addition, hardware-software codesign targeting FPGA System-On-Chip (SoC) is applied to achieve high performance. The development of the hardware-software codesign is carried out via commercial tools to adjust the software algorithms and parameters of the system. The ECT system is used in this work to monitor the characteristic of the molten metal in the Lost Foam Casting (LFC) process. The hardware system consists of capacitive sensors, wireless nodes and FPGA module. The experimental results reveal high stability and accuracy when building the ECT system based on the FPGA architecture. The proposed system achieves high performance in terms of speed and small design density.Keywords: capacitance measurements; electrical tomography; image reconstruction algorithm; LFC; FPGA

FPGAs have a remarkable role in embedded system development due to their capability to start system software development simultaneously with hardware, enable system performance simulations at a very early phase of the development, and allow various system trials and design iterations before finalizing the system architecture.[2]

Contemporary FPGAs have ample logic gates and RAM blocks to implement complex digital computations. FPGAs can be used to implement any logical function that an ASIC can perform. The ability to update the functionality after shipping, partial re-configuration of a portion of the design[17] and the low non-recurring engineering costs relative to an ASIC design (notwithstanding the generally higher unit cost), offer advantages for many applications.[1]

As FPGA designs employ very fast I/O rates and bidirectional data buses, it becomes a challenge to verify correct timing of valid data within setup time and hold time.[18] Floor planning helps resource allocation within FPGAs to meet these timing constraints.

Some FPGAs have analog features in addition to digital functions. The most common analog feature is a programmable slew rate on each output pin, allowing the engineer to set low rates on lightly loaded pins that would otherwise ring or couple unacceptably, and to set higher rates on heavily loaded high-speed channels that would otherwise run too slowly.[19][20] Also common are quartz-crystal oscillator driver circuitry, on-chip resistance-capacitance oscillators, and phase-locked loops with embedded voltage-controlled oscillators used for clock generation and management as well as for high-speed serializer-deserializer (SERDES) transmit clocks and receiver clock recovery. Fairly common are differential comparators on input pins designed to be connected to differential signaling channels. A few mixed signal FPGAs have integrated peripheral analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with analog signal conditioning blocks allowing them to operate as a system-on-a-chip (SoC).[21] Such devices blur the line between an FPGA, which carries digital ones and zeros on its internal programmable interconnect fabric, and field-programmable analog array (FPAA), which carries analog values on its internal programmable interconnect fabric.

"An application circuit must be mapped into an FPGA with adequate resources. While the number of logic blocks and I/Os required is easily determined from the design, the number of routing channels needed may vary considerably even among designs with the same amount of logic. For example, a crossbar switch requires much more routing than a systolic array with the same gate count. Since unused routing channels increase the cost (and decrease the performance) of the FPGA without providing any benefit, FPGA manufacturers try to provide just enough channels so that most designs that will fit in terms of lookup tables (LUTs) and I/Os can be routed. This is determined by estimates such as those derived from Rent's rule or by experiments with existing designs."[22]

In 2012 the coarse-grained architectural approach was taken a step further by combining the logic blocks and interconnects of traditional FPGAs with embedded microprocessors and related peripherals to form a complete "system on a programmable chip". This work mirrors the architecture created by Ron Perloff and Hanan Potash of Burroughs Advanced Systems Group in 1982 which combined a reconfigurable CPU architecture on a single chip called the SB24.[26] Examples of such hybrid technologies can be found in the Xilinx Zynq-7000 all Programmable SoC,[27] which includes a 1.0 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor embedded within the FPGA's logic fabric[28] or in the Altera Arria V FPGA, which includes an 800 MHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore. The Atmel FPSLIC is another such device, which uses an AVR processor in combination with Atmel's programmable logic architecture. The Microsemi SmartFusion devices incorporate an ARM Cortex-M3 hard processor core (with up to 512 kB of flash and 64 kB of RAM) and analog peripherals such as a multi-channel analog-to-digital converters and digital-to-analog converters to their flash memory-based FPGA fabric.[citation needed] 041b061a72


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