A field programmable gate array, more popularly referred to as “FGPA,” is a semiconductor device that uses a matrix of configurable logic blocks (CLBs) and is connected via programmable interconnects. A CLB is simply a single set of interconnected programmable logic devices. A programmable interconnect, meanwhile, is the device that connects all the elements of a programmable logic device, such as an FGPA, together.
Read More about a “Field Programmable Gate Array”
An FPGA can be programmed and reprogrammed depending on the application or functionality required in a manufacturing process. This feature makes an FPGA different from an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) tailor-fitted to perform only one specific task. Even if one-time programmable (OTP) FPGAs are available, reprogrammable ones are more popular.
What Industries Use Field Programmable Gate Arrays?
FPGAs have various uses but are most helpful in the following sectors:
- Aerospace and defense: Radiation-tolerant FPGAs and devices crafted explicitly for this industry aid in image processing, waveform generation, and partial software-defined radio (SDR) reconfiguration. An SDR is a radio communication system whose components are implemented by means of software running on a computer or embedded system instead of the actual hardware.
- ASIC prototyping: FPGAs designed for ASIC prototyping allows fast and accurate system-on-chip (SoC) modeling and embedded software testing. An SoC model refers to an integrated circuit that connects all or most computer or electronic system’s components.
- Audio: FPGAs, along with other targeted design platforms, allow for greater flexibility, faster time-to-market, and lower overall nonrecurring engineering costs (NREs) among a wide range of audio, communications, and multimedia applications.
- Automotive: FPGAs in this space are used to provide vehicle users with silicon and Internet Protocol (IP) solutions for gateway and driver assistance systems, comfort, convenience, and in-vehicle infotainment (e.g., video and audio car components).
- Broadcast and professional audio/video: FPGAs can adapt to changing requirements faster and lengthen product life cycles in this industry, especially those armed with Broadcast-Targeted Design Platforms and solutions for high-end professional broadcast systems.
- Consumer electronics: FPGAs serve as cost-effective solutions that enable next-generation, full-featured consumer applications, such as converged handsets, digital flat panel displays, information appliances, home networking devices, and residential set-top boxes (STBs) in this sector.
- Datacenter: FPGAs in this space are designed for high-bandwidth, low-latency servers, networking, and storage applications. They thus add value to cloud deployments.
- High-performance computing and data storage: These FPGAs comprise solutions for network-attached storage (NAS), storage area networks (SANs), servers, and other storage appliances.
- Industrial: The FPGAs used here are designed for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) applications. They are very flexible and produce more products (e.g., imaging and surveillance, automation, and medical imaging equipment) than other systems that result in faster time-to-market and lower overall NREs.
- Medical: Some FPGAs are used for diagnostic, monitoring, and therapy applications and meet a wide range of processing, display, and input/output (I/O) interface requirements.
- Security: Other FPGAs can meet the changing needs of security applications, ranging from access control to surveillance and safety systems.
- Video and image processing: FPGAs and targeted design platforms in this sector allow for greater flexibility, faster time-to-market, and lower overall NREs.
- Wireless communications: Radiofrequency (RF), baseband, connectivity, transport and networking solutions for wireless equipment that address standards, such as Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), WiMAX, and others belong in this category.
What Famous Brand Uses Field Programmable Gate Arrays?
After knowing what a field-programmable gate array is, you may now be wondering about its real-world application. Intel, probably one of the biggest tech brands today, uses FPGAs to prototype its computer chips and arms its computer chips with FPGAs to make them reprogrammable.
Data analytics, encryption, chip development, and artificial intelligence (AI) inference models—all these require FPGAs to improve their performance and versatility.