Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, October 30, 2002
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Comparing FPGAs and DSPs for Embedded Signal Processing

Jeff Bier
About the talk:

Until recently, FPGAs were rarely used for signal processing. FPGAs were held back by factors such as limited capacity, design flows that were unfamiliar to DSP engineers, and a lack of DSP-related intellectual property libraries. In the last few years, though, a growing number of FPGAs and related products targeting DSP applications have begun to address these shortcomings. At the same time, the requirements of some important emerging DSP applications have begun to exceed the capabilities of traditional DSP processors, motivating system developers to consider alternatives.

In this presentation, we will examine the key requirements of embedded signal processing applications targeted by both DSPs and FPGAs. We will evaluate the features, strengths, and weaknesses of the latest DSPs from vendors like Agere, Motorola, and Texas Instruments and of the latest FPGAs from vendors like Altera and Xilinx. We will present a methodology for evaluating DSPs and FPGAs for embedded signal processing tasks, and will use this methodology to compare key products in both categories using metrics such as speed, cost, and energy efficiency. We will also discuss key technology trends pertinent to DSPs and FPGAs.

About the speaker:

Jeff Bier is co-founder and general manager of BDTI. At BDTI, Jeff oversees BDTI's technology analysis activities, which focus on the evaluation of processors, algorithms, and tools for DSP applications. Jeff is author or co-author of numerous reports and articles, including BDTI's "Buyer's Guide to DSP Processors" (now in its fifth edition). In addition, Jeff has been involved in developing communications software and implementing streaming media capabilities for products such as DVD players and MP3 players. Jeff is a member of the IEEE Design and Implementation of Signal Processing Systems (DISPS) Technical Committee.

Contact Information:
Jeff Bier, General Manager
BDTI -- Berkeley Design Technology, Inc.
2107 Dwight Way, Second Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704 USA
Vox: +1 510-665-1600
Fax: +1 510-665-1680