Impulse, Opal Kelly Support C-to-Hardware for USB-Connected FPGA Modules

Impulse Accelerated Technologies and Opal Kelly announced the release of a Platform Support Package allowing the use of the Impulse C(TM) software-to-hardware compiler tools with the Opal Kelly XEM(TM) USB-connected FPGA modules. The resulting combination of FPGA-based hardware and software programming tools allows software programmers to create, debug and compile C applications for acceleration in FPGAs, without the need to use low-level HDL programming methods.

The Opal Kelly XEM3010 modules are based on Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGAs containing up to 1,500,000 FPGA gates. In addition to providing high gate-count, low-power FPGA devices, the XEM modules provide a high transfer rate for FPGA configuration downloads, enabling an almost instant reprogramming of the FPGA. The XEM3010 devices include an integrated 32-MB of SDRAM in support of high-performance applications including data and image acquisition, signal processing and scientific computing.

According to Jake Janovetz, President of Opal Kelly, “The XEM modules are ideally suited to the prototyping and deployment of FPGA-accelerated systems. The USB 2.0 interface, flexible hardware and a PC software programming interface greatly simplify the creation of mixed software/hardware systems. For OEMs in particular, the XEM module provides turnkey USB integration with the convenience of software-programming hardware. The combination of Impulse C and the XEM modules represents a breakthrough in providing software programmers with access to FPGA acceleration.”

Opal Kelly’s FrontPanel(TM) software provides a well-integrated environment for FPGA configuration, as well as providing a highly flexible virtual control panel interface. The FrontPanel Application Programmer Interface allows software programmers to easily communicate with the XEM using popular software development tools, including Microsoft Visual Studio(R). Using the FrontPanel interface and associated APIs, the USB interface becomes a high-speed, bidirectional communications channel between the PC software application and the FPGA hardware.

“The Opal Kelly FPGA modules represent a critical step forward in the FPGA acceleration of PC applications,” said David Pellerin, CTO and co-founder of Impulse. “The XEM devices provide software programmers with an ideal target for FPGA algorithm prototyping and development using the C language.”

The Impulse tools support FPGA-accelerated applications by generating FPGA hardware directly from C language descriptions. The Impulse compiler analyzes C statements, generates parallel hardware and generates appropriate software/hardware interfaces. The generated hardware descriptions can then be combined with other system elements using Opal Kelly tools, allowing developers to easily create FPGA-accelerated applications without requiring a detailed understanding of the underlying FPGA hardware.

Pricing and Availability
The Impulse C tools, including integrated support for Opal Kelly XEM modules, are available now from Impulse Accelerated Technologies. Prices start at $5495 for a perpetual node-locked license supporting all Xilinx-based FPGA platforms. Annual and floating licenses are also available.

The XEM3010 modules are available now through Opal Kelly. The XEM3010-1000 (with a 1,000,000-gate FPGA) is $349.95 in single quantities. The XEM3010-1500P (with a 1,500,000-gate FPGA and a configuration PROM) is $399.95 in single quantities. Significant quantity discounts apply.

About Impulse
Impulse C enables true software programming of FPGAs using ANSI C. The Impulse tools allow FPGA algorithms to be developed and debugged using popular C/C++ development environments, including Microsoft Visual Studio(TM) and GCC-based tools. The CoDeveloper software-to-hardware compiler translates C-language processes to low-level FPGA-hardware, while optimizing the generated logic and identifying opportunities for parallelism. The compiler analyzes untimed C code and schedules multiple statements and operations into single-clock instruction stages. Impulse C allows software programmers to exploit the extreme levels of parallelism possible in an FPGA.

About Opal Kelly
Opal Kelly produces hardware modules for engineers and OEMs with a strong concentration on providing rich software support for their products. The focus on a full software and hardware solution allows Opal Kelly customers to quickly and seamlessly integrate their products into custom solutions. With extensive expertise in FPGA technology, hardware design, software programming, and embedded systems, Opal Kelly is aware of the problems facing engineers today and is committed to bringing complete solutions to market to help them tackle those problems.