30C3 Video: FPGA 101 – Making awesome stuff with FPGAs

This presentation by Karsten Becker was given at this week’s 30C3 Chaos Communications Congress (CCC) conference in Hamburg, Germany.

In this talk I want to show you around in the mysterious world of
Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or short FPGAs. The aim is to enable you to get a rough understanding on what FPGAs are good at and how they can be used in areas where conventional CPUs and Microcontrollers are failing upon us. FPGAs open up the world of high-speed serial interconnects, nano-second event reactions and hardware fuzzing.

In this lecture I will present you the basics of how FPGAs work and how to program them. I will also show-case some tasks where FPGAs really shine. As an example I will show how a 200 MHz FPGA can perform a discrete wavelet twice as fast as an 2.6 GHz i7. I will also show other applications where FPGAs are almost unbeatable, compared to a CPU.

At the end I will give you an overview of the market. What are hacker friendly boards, which vendors tool chain sucks the least etc. After this lecture you should be able to decide whether a CPU, a GPU or an FPGA could solve your problem the most efficient.

[The actual presentation begins at 09:00 minutes.]

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  1. Just looking for the recommended boards? Go to about 49:00

    Cheap: Papilio One, Mojo V3, XULA-2, DE0-Nano, BEMICRO, PSHDL Board.
    Power: Artix/Kintex/Virtex, Cyclone 5, Arria, Igloo2
    SOC: MicroZed, Zedboard, Parallella, EBV SoCates, SmartFusion Starter Kit

    CPU+FPGA: Logi-board (Kickstarter), Datenkrake

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