Breaking The Three Laws


Addressing the Dark Fibre of FPGA-Based Prototyping, Lighting the Dark FPGA’s

The term “Dark Fibre (Fiber) refers to the additional lines/capacity of optical connections a carrier would install when they laid a new pipeline. These unlit optical connections were built in assuming the need for additional capacity in the future. The thinking was that it’s cheaper to do it all at once vs. adding lines/pipelines later. The problem is that this extra capacity is going to waste and while the main carrier was not using it, someone else could have.

(There is no difference in meaning between the word fiber and fibre. Fiber is the preferred spelling in American English, and fibre is preferred in all the other main varieties of English and as I am originally from the UK I’m ignoring spell check and using the fibre spelling)

We are seeing more and more users move their FPGA-based prototype hardware off their desks and into a shared resource location. HAPS with ProtoCompiler fully supports this emerging use model. The flexible Synopsys solution can be tailored (highest performance) to individual prototyping projects needs or configured in a more generic fashion for greater flexibility when there are many different teams accessing the system.

HAPS-80 with ProtoCompiler supports IP, Block, Subsystem and SoC level prototyping

Typically customers are building these installations using a standard form factor building block, the HAPS-70 S48 or the HAPS-80 S104. Thanks to the HAPS with ProtoCompiler modularity and scalability it’s easy to chain these to support SoC designs of not up to 1.6 Billion ASIC gates.

The HAPS-80 S104, 104 Million ASIC Gate, 4-FPGA form factor, modular and scalable prototyping system

The problem is that prototyped designs don’t always use up all of the FPGA’s available and you end up with Dark FPGA’s. Dark FPGA’s is capacity that is going to waste within the large array of resources, just like Dark Fibre. But let there be LIGHT,  enter HAPS with ProtoCompiler Multi-Design Mode

HAPS-80 with ProtoCompiler Multi-Design Mode

HAPS with ProtoCompiler Multi-Design Mode allows you to use up this extra capacity by sharing the HAPS Prototyping resources across multiple users and multiple designs. In the example below there are three users exercising four design utilizing a total of seven FPGA’s. The designs range from smaller IP or block level prototypes to larger subsystem or SoC level prototypes. No Dark FPGA’s. ProtoCompiler for HAPS manages most of the complexity to create these portable prototyping images in addition to the user following a documented methodology and best practices.

HAPS-80 with ProtoCompiler Multi-Design Mode Example. No Dark FPGA's

The HAPS systems were designed for desktop usage as well as rack mount as seen in the setup below.

HAPS-80's installed into a server rack. Hey, nice rack!

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