An article titled “Living on the Edge” by Farhad Fallah, one of Aldec’s Application Engineers, on the New Electronics Web site recently caught my eye because it succinctly describes why FPGAs are so darn useful for many high-performance, edge-computing applications. Here’s an example from the article:
“The benefits of Cloud Computing are many-fold… However, there are a few disadvantages to the cloud too, the biggest of which is that no provider can guarantee 100% availability.”
There’s always going to be some delay when you ship data to the cloud for processing. You will need to wait for the answer. The article continues:
“Edge processing needs to be high-performance and in this respect an FPGA can perform several different tasks in parallel.”
Then the article describes the significant performance boost that the Zynq SoC’s FPGA fabric provides:
“The processing was shared between a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and FPGA logic (both of which reside within the Zynq device) and began with frame grabbing images from the cameras and applying an edge detection algorithm (‘edge’ here in the sense of physical edges, such as objects, lane markings etc.). This is a computational-intensive task because of the pixel-level computations being applied (i.e. more than 2 million pixels). To perform this task on the ARM CPU a frame rate of only 3 per second could have been realized, whereas in the FPGA 27.5 fps was achieved.”
That’s nearly a 10x performance boost thanks to the on-chip FPGA fabric. Could your application benefit similarly?