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Valued Contributor III
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Exploring Altera product, would like to know what software skill is required.

I am exploring the possibilities to use FPGA products to speed up our software applications which is running on CPUs now. It is a large scale (run on many computers) application which is very computational intensive. It processes a large amount of images.  

I would like to know how FPGA products from Altera can help, including what kind of hardware and software. I also want to know whether we need software skills such as programming in VHDL or Verilog. We have engineers proficient in high level programming languages such as C++. Is OpenCL sufficient? 

 

Thank you.
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Valued Contributor III
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An fpga can definitely do what you're asking. Using hdl or opencl are both good options. But be aware being a good programmer will not make you good at designing for fpgas in opencl and especially not hdl. You really need to be good with parellel processing like dsps or cuda as a start. 

 

I have no experience with opencl myself, but the impression I get from colleagues who have tried it is that opencl it's great for rapid prototyping, but if you want to squeeze performance/area out of your fpga, you need to spend the time designing a full hdl design.
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Valued Contributor III
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Hi Vermeer, Hi level programming proficiency is of help if your company plan use multiprocessor and or DSP on FPGA, processor on hard soft core don't differ too much, soft core can be extended with special instrucion can speed up software and this require the second skill see more. 

 

VHDL , Verilog are HDL languages: 

for both hardware level knowledge are required and how computational structure work too, so it is a language for computer architect or hardware specialized. 

Verilog seems a strange C++ but it is not a software, it generate hardware so see preceding line. 

VHDL is the complex one, it can be a programming language, HDL and simulation, everything face to silicon hard or soft is covered by. 

 

VHDL is a complex language not so user friendly as appear to be Verilog but I preferred VHDL over it is more clean, both are dangerous if you think as a computer programming language, Verilog is more compact but hide a lot of caveat of hardware.
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Valued Contributor III
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Thank you for your response. Could you provide some suggestion on what hardware and software package I should try. I am considering to try out some first and see what needs to be done and what kind of skills I need to find.

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Valued Contributor III
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Could you help?

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Valued Contributor III
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It will really depend on what interfaces you need. There are boats with a simple 232 up to ones ones with gigabit ethernet and pcie. I suggest investigating yourself and massive talking to your fae

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