Synfora Debuts PICO Express FPGA Algorithmic Synthesis for Xilinx FPGAs

Synfora, Inc., a premier provider of algorithmic synthesis tools used to design systems-on-chips (SoCs) and FPGAs, announced the availability of PICO Express FPGA(tm), advanced algorithmic synthesis technology optimized for Xilinx high-performance 65nm Virtex(tm)-5 and low-cost Spartan(tm)-3A DSP FPGAs. PICO Express FPGA enables the implementation of large and complex sub-systems such as video codecs, wireless modems, or imaging pipelines achieving results that are in line with hand crafted designs.

PICO Express FPGA is a result of collaboration between Xilinx Inc. and Synfora to build a product that can synthesize efficient, multi-block pipelines from ANSI C algorithms targeting Xilinx advanced FPGAs. PICO Express FPGA is architected to mask much of the implementation complexity by transforming an untimed sequential C algorithm into parallel, timed multi-block pipelines that automatically take advantage of the hardware resources embedded in the FPGA devices. This enables FPGA developers to significantly reduce the time it takes to go from concept to production.

PICO Express FPGA allows the user to have a sequential, untimed C programming model, while still creating efficient hardware for complex multi-block pipelines. This enables powerful what-if design space exploration and eliminates the error prone and time consuming step of rewriting the algorithm into RTL. PICO Express FPGA integrates seamlessly with Xilinx ISE(tm) design tools and has been designed to take advantage of the embedded DSP and memory features of Xilinx FPGAs without the user having to make any changes to the algorithm. This permits the designers to explore within and across Xilinx product families.

“Xilinx FPGAs plus PICO Express algorithmic synthesis is a powerful combination. We have worked closely with Synfora and believe that PICO Express FPGA is a promising path for implementing complex designs in Xilinx FPGAs through a C programming flow,” said Steve Lass, senior director of Xilinx Software Product Marketing. “The collaboration with Synfora included complex video processing benchmarks and demonstrated results comparable to hand crafted RTL designs.”

The development of FPGA-specific algorithmic synthesis technology was required to ensure the results would compete with hand design and to ensure the results took full advantage of Xilinx’ world leading FPGA architectures including the interface, DSP blocks, block RAM and other key building blocks embedded in the FPGA fabric. Xilinx was instrumental in setting objectives and providing guidance to drive PICO Express FPGA to meet stringent QoR targets. As a result, PICO Express FPGA is able to build efficient hardware from complex algorithms that approaches the performance of RTL hand design with significantly reduced design time. PICO Express FPGA enables designers to synthesize complex, multi-block pipelines from a single algorithm without having to perform any form of post-synthesis assembly, therefore more powerful design exploration and optimization can be applied to the final hardware.

“PICO Express FPGA has demonstrated the ability to deliver efficient RTL from complex algorithms. Working closely with the industry’s leading FPGA provider has been critical to optimize the PICO platform to the FPGA space, where there are significant differences from ASICs,” said Simon Napper, president of Synfora. “We see this as the beginning of a roadmap towards masking implementation complexity and making FPGA design a C programming task.”

PICO Express FPGA is based on Synfora’s innovative PICO platform, which has already been production-proven in the ASIC domain. PICO Express FPGA takes an untimed C algorithm, clock frequency and throughput requirements, and Xilinx device as the target for the hardware. PICO Express FPGA creates a complete verification testbench and interfaces to industry standard simulators, synthesis and place and route tools. The technology can also create a range of SystemC models to empower full system validation and analysis.

Pricing and Availability
PICO Express FPGA is currently available, US pricing starts at $150,000. For more information a PICO Express FPGA data packet is available for download.

About PICO Platform
Synfora’s PICO platform automatically creates complex hardware sub-systems (application engines) from sequential untimed C algorithms. Tools based on the PICO platform allow designers to explore programmability, performance, power, area and clock frequency. In addition, tools developed with the PICO platform technology will reduce time to market by eliminating months of manual RTL design and providing a comprehensive and robust verification and validation environment including SystemC TLM support and automatic RTL testbench creation.

About Synfora
Synfora, Inc. is the premier provider of algorithmic synthesis tools used to design complex systems-on-chips (SoCs) and FPGAs. Synfora’s technology helps to reduce design costs and dramatically speed chip development and reduce time-to-market. Synfora serves customers worldwide in the audio, video, imaging, wireless, and security segments of the IC design market. The company’s investors are ATA Ventures, Foundation Capital, Wafra, U.S. Venture Partners and Xilinx.

Synfora, PICO, PICO Express, PICO Express FPGA and the Synfora logo are trademarks of Synfora, Inc.