The University of Southampton

New book heads away from abstraction to real-world examples

Published: 30 April 2007

A new book which offers practical FPGA solutions to engineers will be published next month.

Design Recipes for FPGAs by Dr Peter Wilson at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics & Computer Science (ECS), to be published by Newnes Press (an imprint of Elsevier) on the 7 May 2007, provides a toolbox of design techniques and VHDL templates to solve practical, every-day problems using FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays).

An FPGA is a semiconductor device containing programmable logic components and programmable interconnects. They have several advantages over their application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) counterparts, in that they have a shorter time to market, ability to reprogram in the field to fix bugs and lower non-recurring engineering costs.

Written in an informal and ‘easy-to-grasp’ style, Dr Wilson’s book goes beyond the principles of FPGAs and hardware description languages to actually demonstrate how specific designs can be synthesized, simulated and downloaded onto an FPGA. In addition, the book provides advanced techniques to create ‘real world’ designs that fit the device required and which are fast and reliable to implement. An accompanying CDROM contains code, test benches and simulation command files for ModelSim.

‘There are lots of textbooks around for engineers,’ said Dr Wilson, but many of them are a bit “abstract”, designed to teach the VHDL language, or too specific. I set out to write something more practical with “real world” examples and solutions. I was inspired by the renowned “Numerical Recipes” series of books and wanted to do something similar in a design context. In addition, we have designed and built a useful FPGA development board that is compact, easy to use and extensible’

On reviewing the book, Lewin Edwards, Design Engineer and Technical author said: ‘Design Recipes for FPGAs is an excellent volume for engineers who work with FPGAs either regularly or occasionally... the book provides a handy shelf reference with examples for many useful functional blocks, ranging from relatively small illustrative syntactic and structural examples to more complex concepts. Whether you work in VHDL (VHSIC, Hardware, Description, Language) occasionally or every day, you'll find practical help in this book.’

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