Altera, IEEE Canada, Impulse Accelerated Reveal Competition Winner

Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR), IEEE Canada, and Impulse Accelerated Technologies announced the winners of the 2008 Innovate Canada Program. This industry-sponsored program encourages risk-taking and innovation at the university level in the area of hardware/software co-design. To assist the teams in their efforts to develop innovative, commercially useful applications, the design competition provided Altera® Cyclone® II FPGA-based development kits, Impulse C-to-FPGA development tools and engineering support from both companies.

The university design teams utilized embedded processors, a variety of custom FPGA hardware modules and combined hardware and software co-design methods to create single-board embedded systems.

First prize went to the team mentored by Dr. Gregory Steffan at the University of Toronto. Team members Martin Labrecque, Muttee Sheikh, Jill San Luis, Benzakhar Manashirov and Mohammed Elsayed created an FPGA-based object-recognition project that included a number of complex hardware filters as well as software running on an Altera Nios® II embedded soft processor. Second prize went to the Ottawa University team mentored by Dr. Miodrag Bolic. Team members Daniel Shapiro, Vishal Thareja, Saurabh Ratti, Srivatsan Vijayakumar and Muran Yang created an automatic fuzzy logic generator, including compiler extensions, that enhances the instruction set of the open-source LEON embedded processor.

Third place was a tie. A Carleton University team, composed of Trevor Burton and Geoffrey Green and mentored by Dr. Miodrag Bolic, created a hardware implementation of a wavelet-based image-compression algorithm. Also tied for third place was the University of Saskatchewan team mentored by Dr. Eric Salt. Team members Geoff Baker, Shea Pederson, Adrien Rudulier, Nathan Windels and Brett Baerg created a hardware system for Ethernet transmission of an MPEG stream from the National Television System Committee (NTSC) standard composite (yellow RCA).

Honorable mention went to the Carleton University team mentored by Dr. Adrian Chan and Dr. Sreeraman Rajan. This team, composed of students Daanish Khan and Dragan Trifkovic, created a heart-rate estimator using phonocardiogram (PCG) signals to automate unattended unobtrusive heart-rate estimation.

“It was good to see so many cross-disciplinary teams collaborate on such challenging designs,” said Stephen Brown, director of Altera university programs. “We saw near-commercial-quality coding and documentation from the hundreds of hours these students and professors committed.”

“The Innovate Canada finalists demonstrated a great deal of creativity and an ability to work together as teams to solve real-world problems,” said David Pellerin, co-founder and CTO of Impulse. “Software/hardware partitioning was a common theme in these projects, reflecting an increased emphasis today on co-design methods.”

“The University of Toronto team picked a challenging problem that required a significant level of innovation,” said Alfredo Herrera, the organizing IEEE chair. “Their design methods show a good understanding of engineering fundamentals, and the resulting application appears highly extendable. The analysis and presentation of their results were professional.”

Innovate Canada is just the latest in a series of academic competitions sponsored by Altera, and the first in which Impulse has participated as a sponsor.

About Altera
Altera programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate and win in their markets.

About Impulse
Impulse CoDeveloper C-to-FPGA development software allows software and hardware engineers to easily develop and retarget C-language applications for FPGAs. Using the Impulse tools, applications developers can quickly analyze, parallelize and partition code for optimal performance.

About IEEE
A non-profit organization, IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology. It has more than 375,000 members, including nearly 80,000 student members in more than 160 countries.

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