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  • S2C tutorial and PROTOTYPICAL debut at DAC

    It’s been a busy few days here in Canyon Lake, and we’re ready to share exciting news in advance of #53DAC coming up on Monday, June 6th. S2C is offering a technical program tutorial on “Overcoming the Challenges of FPGA Prototyping” followed by the launch of our latest book project, “PROTOTYPICAL”, including a field guide authored by S2C.

    Highlighting the tutorial session are three experts in the field, one exploring higher level ideas and two illustrating real-world case studies on how to deploy and optimize FPGA-based prototyping platforms. Mon-Ren Chene, CTO of S2C, will speak along with Bruno Bratti of Wave Computing and Allen Sha of M31 Technology. The 90-minute session begins at 10:30am in meeting rooms 19 A/B (level 4 of the Austin Convention Center).

    At 1:30pm, I’ll join Daniel Nenni in the S2C booth #1928 for the debut of our new SemiWiki book “PROTOTYPICAL: The Emergence of FPGA-Based Prototyping for SoC Design”. We’ll be signing copies of the book and visiting with the DAC digerati for a couple hours along with Mon-Ren Chene who penned the foreword.

    Article: Qualcomm Acquires Intel's Playbook-prototypical-cover-front-small.jpgThe first half of “PROTOTYPICAL” is a concise history of FPGA-based prototyping. We go back to the beginning, briefly introducing the debut of the Altera EP300 in 1984 and the Xilinx XC2064 in 1985. We then discuss the tipping point for what would become FPGA-based prototyping: the introduction of the Quickturn Systems RPM in May 1988. Strictly speaking, the RPM was an FPGA-based hardware emulator, but it set the stage for a radical change in chip development methodology. Intel took the Quickturn technology and put the P5 microarchitecture through its paces on a 14-machine cluster, running a killer demo in 1991 and ultimately releasing the Pentium microprocessor in 1993.

    From there, while the large EDA firms scuffled over bigger and bigger hardware emulation capability, several academic teams started deploying FPGAs for reconfigurable computing and rapid prototyping. These teams were looking for lower cost ways to prove out algorithms and chip designs. It was during this period issues of FPGA interconnect and synthesis partitioning were uncovered and addressed – and just in time, as ARM7TDMI synthesizable cores appeared in 1997.

    We then launch into chapters with brief timelines of three of the major firms in FPGA-based prototyping: S2C, Synopsys, and Cadence. We close the first half with a look at where FPGA-based prototyping is headed, including how it can help application segments such as automotive, wearables, and the IoT – three segments we believe will see an increasing number of design starts as new players seek to optimize and differentiate their software through chip design.

    The second half of “PROTOTYPICAL” is an all-new Field Guide titled “Implementing an FPGA Prototyping Methodology” authored by the teams at S2C. It looks at when design teams need an FPGA-based prototyping solution, how to choose one, and how to be sure the platform is scalable including a look at the latest cloud-based implementations. It then dives into the methodology: setting up a prototype, partitioning, interconnect, debugging, and exercising a design. It’s a practical view of the questions teams have and the issues they run into, and how to solve them.

    For those who caught my recent talk on “The Internet of Trust and a New Frontier for Exploration”, it was a forward-looking view of using FPGA-based prototyping for pre-silicon exploration. I think history is vitally important to understanding how and why things evolved in getting us here, and “PROTOTYPICAL” offers an expanded discussion for folks interested in the history and the future of FPGA-based prototyping technology.

    Thanks to all the folks at S2C who helped us on this project, and we’d appreciate folks checking out their DAC tutorial session. I’d also enjoy meeting all our readers in the S2C booth on Monday afternoon at DAC and autographing a copy. For those who can’t join us in Austin (BTW, I’m hosting another don’t miss event at DAC on Wednesday, June 8th – more on that later), we’ll be launching “PROTOTYPICAL” on Amazon soon.

    Details for the S2C DAC Technical Program Tutorial are online:

    DAC Conference Program | Overcoming Challenges of FPGA Prototyping

    There are also more resources on the S2C site:

    S2C Shares Expert FPGA Prototyping Knowledge at 2016 Design Automation Conference