C-to-FPGA compiler supports Pico M-series modules

An Impulse Accelerated Technologies product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Nov 19, 2010

Impulse Accelerated Technologies' C-to-FPGA compiler is to be extended to support Pico Computing's M-series modules, for applications in security and bioinformatics.

The modules feature the -6 versions of Xilinx's Virtex and Spartan FPGAs in a configuration that enables users to scale up from one to multiple modules.

In this manner, algorithms can be optimised for lower-power, higher parallel-streaming operation on an FPGA, and then scaled to increase performance.

Pico Computing has identified security and bioinformatics as early adopters of this methodology.

Algorithms in both cases involve large amounts of non-sequential logic that accelerates well by massive parallelisation.

The Impulse tools are said to further enhance these solutions by enabling users to mix VHDL and Verilog with Ansi C.

In this methodology, the system logic that will need to incur many iterations can be developed in C.

The portions, such as actual encryption engines, that use the most processing logic can be isolated as machine-generated VHDL and further refined by hand if needed.

Impulse C can easily call external functions in HDL or via optional math.h image processing and other libraries.

FPGAs are increasingly popular as hardware accelerators in high-performance computing applications.

For certain logic types, offloading computationally intensive algorithms to an FPGA enables them to be accelerated, outperforming CPU/DSP/GPUs at lower power through parallel streaming operation.

Using algorithmic-derived hardware acceleration, developers partition logic among processing elements with a single line of C-code.

This method also compiles to hardware logic, embedded cores and even FPGA-enabled boards without requiring software developers to learn how to program in HDL.

Impulse C tools support automatic pipeline generation, instruction scheduling and other optimisations for increased algorithm throughput.

Impulse C is a widely used, high-level synthesis tool for moving software applications to FPGA coprocessors.

The Impulse compiler supports automated and user-directed parallel optimisations, resulting in faster processing speeds and lower power consumption.

The Impulse C compiler generates hardware in standard formats, allowing the hardware code to be simulated and mapped to Pico Computing's modules with minimal effort.

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