Re: WT-FPGA? - Sinclair

This is a discussion on Re: WT-FPGA? - Sinclair ; DanSolo wrote: > Do you think someday there'll be a compiler than goes from C to FPGA? > Then all those emulators out there could be used as the basis of new > chips to replace the rapidly depleting stock ...

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Thread: Re: WT-FPGA?

  1. Re: WT-FPGA?

    DanSolo wrote:
    > Do you think someday there'll be a compiler than goes from C to FPGA?
    > Then all those emulators out there could be used as the basis of new
    > chips to replace the rapidly depleting stock of old silicon out there.


    Not exactly. As I understand it, hardware design is different enough
    from software design that it would be a bad idea to approach it from a
    C-programming perspective. Specifically, in hardware *everything* can
    work in parallel. Not just in the sense of - every chunk of logic is in
    its own bit of silicon, doing its own thing independently. As a result,
    you have dedicated languages like VHDL for doing FPGA stuff, which are
    about as high-level as C, but somewhat different to program in.

    Besides, it's unlikely that any emulator code you picked up would do
    things at a low enough level to work as a drop-in hardware replacement.
    You might have an emulator that does pixel-perfect multicolour, but that
    doesn't mean there's any spot in the code that you can point to and say
    "there's our video feed - we'll hook into that, and it will squirt out
    just the right signals for exactly the right amount of time to build up
    a TV picture"). You just have to look at the topics on WOS from when
    csmith was building the video circuitry for the Harlequin... I can't say
    I followed a huge amount of the techy details, but it's clear that the
    whole process brought our understanding of the Spectrum ULA forward by
    leaps and bounds, and emulators were pretty darn good already.

  2. Re: WT-FPGA?

    Matthew Westcott wrote:
    > Specifically, in hardware *everything* can
    > work in parallel. Not just in the sense of - every chunk of logic is in
    > its own bit of silicon, doing its own thing independently.


    Bah, hit send too early... that should say "Not just in the sense of
    having multiple threads running at once".

  3. Re: WT-FPGA?

    On Aug 7, 5:37 pm, Matthew Westcott wrote:
    > DanSolo wrote:
    > > Do you think someday there'll be a compiler than goes from C to FPGA?
    > > Then all those emulators out there could be used as the basis of new
    > > chips to replace the rapidly depleting stock of old silicon out there.

    >
    > Not exactly. As I understand it, hardware design is different enough
    > from software design that it would be a bad idea to approach it from a
    > C-programming perspective.


    Yeah, it was only a bit of a day dream really. I find replacing
    individual chips to save the original hardware much more interesting
    than what's really just a fancy emulator when it's done for the full
    computer. Dunno if it's ever been done though.

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