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Getting Started

Hi All, I am new to Hardware Programming. Since OpenCL is C like syntax I will used it for my Hardware Development. So I came to know about the Intel SDK Development Kit available. This has something call emulator to run on the hosts. So does this mean that I will not require any Hardware to start with. And I guess this emulator in from Quartus. So what about the licensing. So to be precise can I just download the SDK and start working and run the kernels in an emuator.

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Just to clarify as I know this will be confusing.  There are currently TWO different OpenCL SDKs... One is the Intel SDK for OpenCL and the other is the Intel FPGA SDK for OpenCL.  If you plan on targeting FPGAs, then you need the FPGA SDK.  There is a major amount of work to combine these two and also make everything much more seemless for software programmers to be able to target FPGAs.  And on that not, it is important you understand that OpenCL enables software programmers, more than hardware centric FPGA developers, to target the FPGA.  In fact they never use or open is solely needed to build the FPGA image behind the scenes.

As you point out, the emulator flow does not require Quartus or Hardware.  It is a part of the OpenCL SDK and such has nothing to do with the back end FGPA tool Quartus.  So, to your question...yes, you can download the Intel FPGA SDK for OpenCL from the page and start writing OpenCL code, optimizing it and emulating it without any hardware. 

As for a license to the software, there are many ways to get it.  Easiest way is to contact and Intel sales person (formerly Altera).  If you are part of a university, then the university program will get you licenses...also on the web page.  I strongly suggest you take the online and instuctor led trainings that are linked to on the OpenCL web page as well.  These will get you started much faster and with a much better understanding of the developement environment.