Kevin Morris at EE Journal is a long-time observer of the FPGA world. Today, he published his take on the recent introduction of the new Xilinx SDAccel Development Environment. It’s a long article and you should read it in its entirety, but here are a couple of brief paragraphs from Morris’ article:
“If FPGAs are to become the compute engines of the future, the flow of FPGA design must make a tectonic shift toward the software engineer. The devices must seem like processors, and the implementation must feel like programming. Synthesis, simulation, and layout must be replaced by compilation and debug. Detailed control of optimization options must be replaced by rapid iteration and productive workflow. In short, the whole hardware-engineer-centric FPGA process must be turned on its side.
“That is exactly what Xilinx is doing today.
“Enter SDx (for “Software-Defined (whatever)”), which is Xilinx’s marketing approach to the various flavors of software-based systems engineering. In different application domains, software developers have different dialects. Software-defined networking is markedly different from search, or big data processing, or image and signal processing. So, Xilinx wanted a brand that was extensible to various tribes of software engineers, and which had a basic underlying flow that was understandable and familiar to all flavors of software engineers. The first two examples are SDNet (Software-defined specification environment for networking) and SDAccel (development environment for OpenCL, C, and C++).”