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Design for Embedded Image Processing on FPGAs by Donald G. Bailey

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Chapter 2

Field Programmable Gate Arrays

In this chapter, the basic architectural features of FPGAs are examined. While a detailed understanding of the internal architecture of an FPGA is not essential to programme them (the vendor-specific place and route tools manage most of these details), a basic knowledge of the internal structure and how a design maps onto that architecture can be used to develop a more efficient implementation.

2.1 Programmable Logic

The basic idea behind programmable hardware is to have a generic circuit where the functionality can be programmed for a particular application. Conventional computers are based on this idea, where the ALU can perform one of several operations based on a set of control signals. The limitation of an ALU is that it can only perform one operation at a time. Therefore, a particular application must be broken into the sequence of control signals for controlling the function of the ALU, along with the logic required to provide the appropriate data to the inputs of the ALU. The sequence of controls is provided by a sequence of programme instructions stored in the memory.

Programmable logic, on the other hand, represents the functionality as a circuit, where the particular circuit can be programmed to meet the requirements of an application. The key distinction is that the functionality is implemented as a parallel system, rather than sequential. Any logic function may be implemented using a two-level minterm (OR of AND) representation. ...

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