Hardware Investigate

Taking Advantage of Advances in FPGA Floating-Point IP Cores

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Executive Summary

Recently available FPGA design tools and IP provide a substantial reduction in computational resources, as well as greatly easing the implementation effort in a floating-point datapath. Moreover, unlike digital signal processors, an FPGA can support a DSP datapath with mixed floating- and fixed-point operations, and achieve performance in excess of 100 GFLOPS. This is an important advantage, for many high-performance DSP applications only require the dynamic-range floating-point arithmetic in a subset of the total signal processing. The choice of FPGA implementation coupled with floating-point tools and IP allows the designer flexibility in a mix of fixed-point data width, floating-point data precision, and performance levels unattainable by a processor-based architecture.

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