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Simplifying FPGA Design & Development with Lattice Insights

Simplifying FPGA Design & Development with Lattice Insights
Posted 08/24/2023 by Steve Ong, Director of Worldwide Applications

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The continued AI and machine learning evolution is reshaping lifestyles and workplaces, now more than ever with the emergence of foundation models and generative artificial intelligence (AI). To keep up with the significant rise in computational throughput this still-evolving digital transformation is causing, the demand for hardware efficiency is increasing. Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are an ideal silicon solution to help developers to navigate this shift and design reprogrammable embedded system applications thanks to their differentiated advantages like low latency, high throughput, and power efficiency.

FPGAs are widely used in the Communications, Computing, Industrial, Automotive, Consumer markets across many applications, including AI and machine learning (ML). From enabling low latency AI inference; implementing low power embedded display processing; deploying secure, synchronized, low power ORAN; and accelerating industrial automation systems such as robotics and real-time industrial networking, system developers and application designers can create innovative solutions for a wide range of industries and use cases with low power FPGAs.

However, integrating FPGAs into the design process and designing solutions on FPGAs can be intimidating as it requires learning new design process and tools. To help harness the full potential of our FPGAs, Lattice provides an official training portal called Lattice Insights filled with courses to enable and empower developers at any stage to master their FPGA experience for maximized results.

A Deep Dive into Application Design & Development

Lattice Insights - Design & Develop with Lattice FPGA: Applicaiton Image

One of the most popular courses on Lattice Insights today is Design & Development with Lattice FPGA: Application. The course outlines fundamental techniques of design and development, including the practical basics of configuring FPGAs. This course enables developers to gain a deeper knowledge, complete hands-on design activities, and enhance their developing skills to increase their confidence when designing with FPGA technology.

In this course, developers start by gaining a deeper level of understanding into I/O interfaces on Lattice FPGAs, including the I/O standards and configurations supported, as well as the I/O bank system. Breaking down the various configurable features and options, users learn more about slew rates, tri-state buffers, pull-up/pull-downs, and bus holds.

Lattice Insights - Using FPGA Image

Further, the Application course provides an in-depth explanation of different types of timing specifications. This is crucial for designers as understanding how these parameters are controlled can help them follow proper design protocols and avoid timing violations and issues, such as metastability. The course also explores various techniques to balance throughput and latency, including pipelining, parallel structures, flattened logic structures, and loop unrolling.

Lattice Insights - Timing Specifications - FPGA Logic Timing Image

The Application course also breaks down key FPGA architecture elements that are required to implement specific designs. Developers can discover all the memory elements on Lattice FPGAs and their supported features, including the differences between distributed and block memory, how to synthesize different clock frequencies with PLLs, and how to implement algorithms on a sysDSP for digital signal processing. PLLs and DSPs are discussed in depth to give developers a more comprehensive overview of how these elements can be leveraged and incorporated into Lattice FPGAs.

To provide a holistic understanding of developing with FPGAs, the course wraps up with an overview of the configuration logic and various options for programming Lattice FPGAs.

Enhancing FPGA Education with Lattice Insights

Developed by FPGA and training experts, Lattice Insights delivers extensive industry insights within a robust lesson library of customizable training courses, simplified learning plans, and interactive instructor-led content categorized into five areas of focus: Developer, Software, Silicon, Solutions, and Board. Each area features trainings arranged in increasing levels of depth, so early users can begin with overviews and fundamentals, while seasoned experts can start on more advanced topics. Every course is sectioned into sub-set portions, allowing developers to learn at their own pace and prioritize sections that are most relevant to their project.

As FPGAs become more and more integral to technological innovations, we created Lattice Insights to ensure developers could easily learn about FPGA fundamentals, tools, and design process, stay up-to-date on the latest requirements, and dive deeper into advanced techniques.

Register Lattice Insights for free and get immediate access to a wealth of complimentary training courses, with new content added on a regular basis. To learn more, visit