Here’s an example of FPGAs being used in a serious application: high-frequency trading (HFT), the execution of computerized stock trading strategies. The device pictured above is the HFT-X Development Kit by Stone Ridge Technology. Under the hood this device sports one Xilinx PCIe Bridge FPGA, one Xilinx Virtex-5 Processing FPGA, 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, 1G, 10G, IB Ethernet ports and JTAG programmability. This is where high tech meets high finance!
Stone Ridge says:
For C programmers the kit is available with the ImpulseC Co-Developer C-to-HDL compiler and a Stone Ridge developed reference design that will speed progress on your proprietary innovations. You can start programming the system right out of the box in familiar ANSI-C. For HDL coders, the kit includes IP cores for PCI-e, Ethernet, DDR memory, reference designs and a clean API to get you started.
For those wishing to delve deeper, you can download the API Manual.