Altera’s 30th Anniversary: Looking Forward

CATEGORIES : All, Design Challenges, System Architecture/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

As Altera enters its fourth decade, there seems to be little agreement among experts about the future of programmable logic. Some argue that spiraling SoC development cost and shrinking product cycles are making the two obvious alternatives to FPGAs – ASICs and ASSPs – untenable, opening the door to a much wider market for programmable […]

A Clearing Picture of the Internet of Things

CATEGORIES : All, Design Challenges, System Architecture/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

By now most systems designers have a mental picture of the Internet of Things (IoT): an idea of its structure and its purpose. Unfortunately, this picture is likely to be wrong in both aspects. Judging by keynotes at ARM Techcon 2013, both the structure and function of the IoT are evolving in directions that neither […]

IP Quality Means Something Different if You Are Making Changes

CATEGORIES : All, Design Challenges, System Architecture/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

How to evaluate the quality of semiconductor intellectual property (IP)? That sounds like a question that was settled years ago, at least for industry-standard interface IP. But increasingly today, system designers—especially those who develop their own ASICs or FPGA-based implementations—use supposedly standard IP in distinctly non-standard ways. We overclock physical-layer IP. We bypass protocol layers […]

Memory Bandwidth Takes Center Stage at Hot Chips Conference

CATEGORIES : All, Design Challenges, System Architecture/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

The pursuit of memory bandwidth has become a dominant theme in system design. SoC designers, whether they use ASIC or FPGA technologies, must plan, architect, and implement with memory at the center of their thinking. System designers must, with a clear understanding of memory traffic patterns, provision the ports the chip designers created. Even memory […]

The Third Decade: The FPGA as SoC

CATEGORIES : All, Design Challenges, System Architecture/AUTHOR : Ron Wilson

In 2003, amidst the recessionary hangover from the dot-com crash, Altera began its third decade. It was a year of endings: the tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia, the last contact with the spacecraft Pioneer 10, the last VW Beetle from the assembly line. And it was a year of beginnings: the Iraq War, […]