VMETRO Speeds DSP Development with FPGA Design Kit for Virtex-5

VMETRO(TM) and Impulse Accelerated Technologies, Inc. announced the release of a DSP development kit, the V5+C, an advanced platform for rapid prototyping and algorithm development. The kit, which includes the latest-generation Impulse C-to-VHDL compiler tools and a VMETRO PMC module based on the Xilinx(R) Virtex(TM)-5 FPGA, allows military and industrial system developers to hardware–accelerate DSP algorithms and quickly prototype on FPGA within an ANSI C environment.

With the V5+C kit, software application developers who may be less familiar with low-level VHDL design methods can easily move ANSI C algorithms to an FPGA-accelerated platform. Experienced hardware developers benefit as well due to a faster path to a working prototype from higher-level C code.

According to David Pellerin, CTO of Impulse, “The combination of Impulse C(TM) with VMETRO’s PMC-FPGA05 Virtex-5-based PMC module provides new alternatives for developers of high performance DSP algorithms. Software developers in many domains, DSP included, are learning the value of using FPGAs for algorithm acceleration. We are happy to be working with VMETRO to make FPGAs more accessible.”

The Impulse C compiler plays a key role in bringing more software developers into FPGA technologies. A benefit of the Impulse C compiler is its ability to automatically analyze, optimize and translate the original C code to run in parallel on an FPGA to take advantage of the inherent parallel capabilities of FPGA devices. The result is an FPGA solution that outperforms most DSPs or processors. Using the Impulse tools in combination with Xilinx FPGA devices, users can expect to achieve 10X acceleration over their existing microprocessor-based solutions. When compared to traditional methods of hardware design, this approach can cut weeks or even months off of the development timescale.

The VMETRO PMC-FPGA05 included in the V5+C kit is a PMC module with a large-capacity Xilinx Virtex-5 XC5VLX110 FPGA and customizable digital front-panel I/O. The powerful FPGA is boosted by multiple banks of QDR and DDR memory to ensure that processing capabilities of the PMC-FPAGA05 are maximized. The PMC-FPGA05 was designed for embedded DSP applications where there is a need for flexible, customizable I/O and FPGA processing on the data stream. There are a number of I/O adapter modules available from VMETRO that can be plugged onto the PMC-FPGA05 including a dual channel 105MSPS, 14-bit ADC; a dual channel 210MSPS, 14-bit DAC; an FPDP-II interface; a 33 channel RS485/422 interface; a Camera Link interface; an L-Band receiver; and two different LVDS interfaces. Customers can also develop their own I/O adapter modules to meet their custom I/O requirements.

The V5+C kit extends the ability to develop DSP algorithms in ANSI C by enabling C applications to directly interface to VMETRO-provided hardware IP blocks, eliminating the need for developers to use VHDL to interface their hardware-accelerated algorithms to the VMETRO’s IP blocks for the Virtex-5 FPGA. The Impulse C Platform Support Package (PSP) for the PMC-FPGA05 is the key link enabling the integration of VMETRO’s IP blocks and C applications. The PSP provides C-callable interfaces to the VMETRO PMC-FPGA05 PMC module’s PCI-X bus, the QDR and DDR memories, and more.

The V5+C kit includes a PMC-FPGA05 on a PCI-X carrier card along with the Impulse C tools and PSP. Early adopters of this kit receive special factory training and design support on their first algorithm. The discount price for early adopter customers is $9,995.

VMETRO [OSE:VME] provide integrators of high-end embedded computer systems with products and services from development through deployment, with the highest levels of performance, innovation and reliability. Main product areas include 1) Embedded Computing – high-performance I/O and Digital Signal Processing boards and systems based on FPGAs and PowerPCs, 2) Data Recording and Storage – high-performance long endurance Recording / Playback systems and Rugged Storage solutions, and 3) Bus and Protocol Analyzers – advanced tools used to debug, optimize, validate and test computer based systems. All products are based on open standards like VME/VXS and PCI/cPCI/PMC/XMC, with strong focus on high-speed serial interconnects such as Fibre Channel, Serial FPDP, Aurora and PCI Express.

About Impulse Accelerated Technologies, Inc.
The Impulse C optimizing C to FPGA compiler allows software/hardware design teams to achieve the quality of results necessary for complex electronic products in a fraction of the time required by a traditional HDL based methodology. By moving to a higher level of abstraction and using FPGAs, design teams can significantly reduce the time needed to create and implement high frequency signal or image processing systems. Advanced compiler features found in the Impulse tools can automatically increase the parallelism and performance of C algorithms originally intended for microprocessors or DSPs, and greatly simply the movement of legacy C algorithms into FPGAs. In addition, for software oriented groups, Impulse C offers the ability to abstract away many of the details of software/hardware interconnectivity, in particular when using FPGA based microprocessor cores. This methodology had proven to reduce FPGA development times by 50% or more while resulting in processing throughput gains of 10X or more over embedded processor or DSP equivalents.