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Embedded-vision applications present many design challenges and a new ElectronicsWeekly.com article written by Michaël Uyttersprot, a Technical Marketing Manager at Avnet Silica, and titled “Bringing embedded vision systems to market” discusses these challenges and solutions.


First, the article enumerates several design challenges including:


  • Meeting hi-res image-processing demands within cost, size, and power goals
  • Handling a variety of image-sensor types
  • Handling multiple image sensors in one camera
  • Real-time compensation (lens correction) for inexpensive lenses
  • Distortion correction, depth detection, dynamic range, and sharpness enhancement



Next, the article discusses Avnet Silica’s various design offerings that help engineers quickly develop embedded-vision designs. Products discussed include:




Avnet PicoZed Embedded Vision Kit.jpg 


The Avnet PicoZed Embedded Vision Kit is based on the Xilinx Zynq SoC




If you’re about to develop any sort of embedded-vision design, it might be worth your while to read the short article and then connect with your friendly neighborhood Avnet or Avnet Silica rep.




For more information about the Avnet PicoZed Embedded Vision Kit, see “Avnet’s $1500, Zynq-based PicoZed Embedded Vision Kit includes Python-1300-C camera and SDSoC license.”




The ISE 2018 show for Pro A/V and Broadcast equipment users and designers opens in Amsterdam in about three weeks and Xilinx will be showing several Pro A/V and broadcast technologies in its booth (#15-K222) including three all-new ones:



  • DisplayPort 1.4: With 8K cameras and display panels already beginning to appear, Pro AV system designers can now design products based on Xilinx UltraScale and UltraScale+ devices with 16.3Gbps GTH SerDes ports that can ingest 8K video for subsequent processing, compression, and transport.


  • SMPTE-2110: Macnica Technology will be demonstrating the SMPTE-2110 broadcast standard for media-over-IP transport running on its VIPA Professional PCIe Video Transport Interface card, which is based on a Xilinx Kintex UltraScale KU035 FPGA. With a mezzanine codec like intoPIX’s TICO, you can pipe 4K60 video through a standard 10G Ethernet pipe—which is great for designers of high-end video projectors, KVMs, media gateways, and video-over-IP boxes.



Macnica VIPA Professional PCIe Video Transport Interface Card.jpg 



Macnica Technology’s VIPA Professional PCIe Video Transport Interface Card can implement SMPTE-2110 and TICO

for 4K60 video transmission over 10GbE




  • 4K, low-latency (60msec glass-to-glass) HEVC video streaming running on a Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, useful for designing video-conferencing systems and KVMs.



You’ll also see Omnitek demonstrating its 4K-video warping and stitching subsystem IP running on a Xilinx ZCU106 eval kit. On the ZCU106’s Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, the warping subsystem can create real-time image warps on video streams with images as large as 4096x2160 pixels at 60fps and the image-stitching subsystem can stitch as many as eight video streams into one 4K/UHD stream in real time.


Although Deutsche Börse Group, one of the world’s largest stock and security exchanges, already had a packet-capture and time-stamping solution in place, a major upgrade and redesign of their co-location network in 2017 added 60 Metamakos K-Series networking devices—including the company’s MetaApp 32 Network Application Platform—in to its data center in Frankfurt, Germany. This upgrade was a response to increasing customer demand for market fairness and precision in network-based trading. The upgrade significantly enhances and strengthens network-monitoring capabilities and gives full visibility for network transactions by capturing every packet entering and exiting Deutsche Börse Group’s network. (Metamako has published a case study of this application. Click here for more information.)



Metamako MetaApp 32 Network Application Platform.jpg


Metamako’s MetaApp 32 Network Application Platform




Metamako’s MetaApp 32 is an adaptable network application platform that brings intelligence to the network edge for some of the most demanding, latency-critical networks including high-frequency trading and analytics. It is based on Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGAs, which means that the company’s Network Application Platform can run multiple networking applications in parallel—very quickly.




For more information about Metamako’s networking products including the MetaApp 32 Network Application Platform, see “Metamako’s new low-latency, high-performance networking platform delivers application parallelism through multiple FPGAs.”




 A YouTube video maker with the handle “takeshi i” has just posted an 18-minute video titled “IoT basics with ZYBO (Zynq)” that demonstrates an IoT design created with a $199 Digilent Zybo Z7 dev board based on a Xilinx Zynq SoC. (Note: It's a silent video.)


First, the YouTube video demonstrates the IoT design interacting with an app on a mobile phone. Then video takes you step-by-step through the creation process using the Xilinx Vivado development environment.


The YouTuber writes:


“I implemented a web server using Python and bottle framework, which works with another C++ application. The C++ application controls my custom IPs (such as PWM) implemented in PL block. A user can control LEDs, 3-color LEDs, buttons and switches mounted on ZYBO board.”


The YouTube video’s Web page also lists the resources you need to recreate the IoT design:





Here’s the video:







A quick look at the latest product table for the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC will tell you that the sample rate for the devices’ RF-class, 14-bit DAC has jumped to 6.554Gsamples/sec, up from 6.4Gsamples/sec. I asked Senior Product Line Manager Wouter Suverkropp about the change and he told me that the increase supports “…an extra level of oversampling for DOCSIS3.1 [designers]. The extra oversampling gives them 3dB processing gain and therefore simplifies the external circuits even further.”




RFSoC Conceptual Diagram.jpg 


Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Conceptual Diagram




For more information about the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC, see:













A new Hackaday.io project by Sundance Multiprocessor demonstrates a video-processing application consisting of:



  • Real-time, 1280x720-pixel HDMI video input
  • Sobel filtering
  • Real-time HDMI video output



This design runs on an EMC² EMC2-ZU3EG Development Platform, which is based on a Xilinx Zynq Ultrascale+ ZU3EG MPSoC. A VITA57.1 FMC-compatible daughter card plugged to the EMC² Development Platform provides the HDMI input/output interface. Compute-intensive tasks are implemented in hardware using standard or custom IP cores and Vivado HLS. A Xilinx LogiCORE AXI VDMA IP core provides high-bandwidth memory access between the board’s DDR4 SDRAM and the HDMI peripherals.




Sundance Sobel Filtering Demo System.jpg


Sundance Multiprocessor’s Hardware-Accelerated Sobel Filtering Demo running on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC



The project’s software was developed using the Xilinx SDSoC 2017.2 development environment. It’s a bare-metal application that executes on the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC’s Arm Cortex-A53 processor. The Sobel filter algorithm alternately runs unaccelerated on the Arm cortex-A53 processor and then with hardware acceleration using IP instantiated in the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC’s PL. The results are impressive:


  • Without hardware acceleration: 0.73fps
  • With hardware acceleration: 31fps


That’s a 42x speedup!


Here’s a simplified block diagram of the reference design’s hardware from Vivado 2017.2:



Sundance Sobel Filtering Demo System Hardware Block Diagram.jpg 



As you can see, it’s rather simple.



For more information, please contact Sundance Multiprocessor directly.


Javier Alejandro Varela and Professor Dr-Ing Norbert Wehn at of the University of Kaiserslautern’s Microelectronic Systems Design Research Group have just published a White Paper titled “Running Financial Risk Management Applications on FPGA in the Amazon Cloud” and the last sentence in the White Paper’s abstract reads:



“…our FPGA implementation achieves a 10x speedup on the compute intensive part of the code, compared to an optimized parallel implementation on multicore CPU, and it delivers a 3.5x speedup at application level for the given setup.”



The University of Kaiserslautern’s Microelectronic Systems Design Research Group has been working on accelerating financial applications using FPGAs in connection with high-performance computing systems since 2010 and that research has recently migrated to cloud-based computing systems including Amazon’s EC2 F1 Instance, which is based on Xilinx Virtex Ultrascale+ FPGAs. The results in this White Paper are based on using OpenCL code and the Xilinx SDAccel development environment.




For more information about Amazon’s AWS EC2 F1 instance in Xcell Daily, see:








HuMANDATA has introduced its EDX-303 series of FPGA dev boards featuring the three largest members of the new Xilinx Spartan-7 FPGAs: the S50T, S75T, and S100T. One other notable device on the board: a nonvolatile Everspin MR2A16AMA35 4Mbit MRAM (magnetic RAM) directly controlled by the Spartan-7 FPGA.


The boards all measure 53x54mm and share a common block diagram:




Humandata EDX-303 Spartan-7 Dev Board.jpg 


HuMANDATA EDX-303 dev board block diagram



Here’s a photo of the board:




Humandata EDX-303 Spartan-7 Dev Board Photo.jpg 


HuMANDATA EDX-303 dev board for the three largest Spartan-7 FPGAs




Please contact HuMANDATA directly for more information about the EDX-303 dev board series.




Xilinx has announced availability of automotive-grade Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs, enabling development of safety critical ADAS and Autonomous Driving systems.  The 4-member Xilinx Automotive XA Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC family is qualified according to AEC-Q100 test specifications with full ISO 26262 ASIL-C level certification and is ideally suited for various automotive platforms by delivering the right performance/watt while integrating critical functional safety and security features.


The XA Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC family has been certified to meet ISO 26262 ASIL-C level requirements by Exida, one of the world's leading accredited certification companies specializing in automation and automotive system safety and security. The product includes a "safety island" designed for real-time processing functional safety applications that has been certified to meet ISO 26262 ASIL-C level requirements.  In addition to the safety island, the device’s programmable logic can be used to create additional safety circuits tailored for specific applications such as monitors, watchdogs, or functional redundancy. These additional hardware safety blocks effectively allow ASIL decomposition and fault-tolerant architecture designs within a single device.



Xilinx XA Zynq UltraScale Plus MPSoC.jpg 




By Adam Taylor


The design solutions we create using Zynq SoC and Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC devices are complex embedded systems. This blog post about embedded system design will address the application challenges using both the Processing System (PS) and the Programmable Logic (PL) found in the Zynq SoC and MPSoC devices.


When it comes to commissioning these systems, we need to be able to debug interactions between the PS and PL at run time. We can use breakpoints to halt the software so that we can examine values in memory and registers. We can also use Integrated Logic Analyzers (ILA) to examine designs within the PL. What we need is a method to allow software break points and PL ILAs to work together to provide maximum information about the system’s behavior.


Cross triggering allows us to do just this. Cross triggering can:


  1. Trigger an ILA when a software break point is hit
  2. Halt the software when an ILA is triggered


Before we can use this debugging technique, we need to enable cross triggering between the PS and PL during debug it within the customization dialog of the processing system (for either the Zynq SoC or Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC) within Vivado.





Enabling Cross Triggering in the Zynq SoC





Enabling Cross Triggering in the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC




We can have as many as four cross triggers in each direction. However for this example, I am only using one trigger in each direction.


Once enabled, the Zynq SoC/Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC PS block within our block diagram will include additional ports named TRIGGER_IN_x and TRIGGER_OUT_x. We connect these ports to the ILAs within our PL design to create cross triggers.


Note: We do not need to connect the TRIGGER_IN and TRIGGER_OUT ports to the same ILA as I do in this example. Also, the trigger input and output actually consist of two signals, the trigger signal and a trigger acknowledge.


For this example, I am using one ILA in conjunction with a Zynq SoC PS to cross trigger in both directions:





Cross triggering between an ILA and a Zynq SoC’s PS






Enabling ILA Triggers




Once we have the hardware design completed within Vivado, the next step is to build the design and then export the hardware definition and bit file to the SDK. It is within SDK that we create the application and enable cross triggering within our debug configuration.



To enable cross triggering, we need to update the debug configuration using the debug configuration dialog where we select the “enable cross triggering” option. Once this has been selected, we also need to define the connections between the input and output triggers by creating new cross-trigger breakpoints.  We do this by clicking on the button to the right of the “enable cross triggering” option.





Enabling cross triggering




This will open a dialog that allow you to connect the trigger input and outputs. For this example, I need to create two cross trigger breakpoints for the one input and one output. One trigger goes from the PS to the PL and the other goes from the PL to the PS. To create these, we simply click on the create button.






Cross Trigger Breakpoint Definition






Defining the connection between the PS and PL




This will open a dialog box that enables the connections between the trigger input and outputs to be defined. For this example, I have connected:



  1. PS to PL trigger: CPU Debug output to Fabric Trace Monitor (FTM) Inputs. This will assert triggers to all four cross-trigger signals in the PL when the CPU hits a breakpoint.
  2. PL to PS trigger: FTM outputs to CPU Debug input. This will stop the software application when any of the four PL FTM triggers asserts.



Both the Input and output triggers within the PL from the PS are connected to the ILA in this example. As such, we can use these triggers within the ILA to determine what action we wish to take.


We also must have a Vivado hardware manager open and connected to the ILAs within the device to successfully execute cross triggering along with SDK.


If we wish the software to trigger the ILA when code execution hits a breakpoint, we configure the ILA’s trigger mode to trigger from TRIG_IN_ONLY or BASIC/ADV_OR_TRIG_IN. Depending upon which is selected, the ILA will trigger if the external trigger occurs or if an ILA internal trigger occurs. Running the application software with a breakpoint defined will result in the ILA waveform being available for inspection when the breakpoint is reached.


Should we wish for a logic transaction in the PL to halt the software, we can use the ILA’s trigger output. The ILA can be configured to output a trigger when either a user-defined internal ILA trigger occurs (e.g. when a rising edge occurs) or when a value on a bus is detected, or to propagate the ILA’s input trigger to the output.







Setting the ILA to trigger when a software breakpoint is hit






Setting the ILA to stop software execution when the ILA triggers




This simple example allowed me to perform cross triggering in both directions, with ease.


Cross triggering is a useful technique that helps get to the bottom of troublesome PL/PS interaction issues and can also be of use when we wish to gather evidence for verification in critical applications.



You can find the example source code on GitHub.



Adam Taylor’s Web site is http://adiuvoengineering.com/.



If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




First Year E Book here


First Year Hardback here.




MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg 




Second Year E Book here


Second Year Hardback here



MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg 





Bitmain manufactures Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrency mining machines and currently operates the world’s largest cryptocurrency mines. The company’s latest-generation Bitcoin miner, the Antminer S9, incorporates 189 of Bitmain’s 16nm ASIC, the BM1387, which performs the Bitcoin hash algorithm at a reate of 14 TeraHashes/sec. (See “Heigh ho! Heigh ho! Bitmain teams 189 bitcoin-mining ASICs with a Zynq SoC to create world's most powerful bitcoin miner.”) The company also uses one Zynq Z-7010 SoC to control those 189 hash-algorithm ASICs.



Bitmain Antminer S9.jpg 


Bitmain’s Antminer S9 Bitcoin Mining Machine uses a Zynq Z-7010 SoC as a main control processor




The Powered by Xilinx program has just published a 3-minute video containing an interview with Yingfei Li, Bitmain’s Marketing Director, and Wenguo Zhang, Bitmain’s Hardware R&D Director. In the video, Zhang explains that the Zynq Z-7010 solved multiple hidden problems with the company’s previous-generation control panel, thanks to the Zynq SoC’s dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and the on-chip programmable logic.


Due to the success that Bitmain has had with Xilinx Zynq SoCs in it’s Antminer S9 Bitcoin mining machine, the company is now exploring the use of Xilinx 20nm and 16nm devices (UltraScale and UltraScale+) for future, planned AI platforms and products.





DornerWorks is one of only three Xilinx Premier Alliance Partners in North America offering design services, so the company has more than a little experience using Xilinx All Programmable devices. The company has just launched a new learn-by-email series with “interesting shortcuts or automation tricks related to FPGA development.”


The series is free but you’ll need to provide an email address to receive the lessons. I signed up and immediately received a link to the first lesson titled “Algorithm Implementation and Acceleration on Embedded Systems” written by DornerWorks’ Anthony Boorsma. It contains information about the Xilinx Zynq SoC and Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC and the Xilinx SDSoC development environment.


Sign up here.




Need a tiny-but-powerful SOM for your next embedded project? The iWave iW-RainboW-G28M SOM based on a Xilinx Zynq Z-7007S, Z-7014S, Z-7010, or Z-7020 SoC is certainly tiny—it’s a 67.6x37mm plug-in SoDIMM—and with one or two Arm Cortex A9 MPCore processors, 512Mbytes of DDR3 SDRAM, 512Mbytes of NAND Flash, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports, and an optional WiFi/Bluetooth module it certainly qualifies as powerful and it’s offered in an industrial temp range (-40°C to +85°C).



iWave iW-RainboW-G28M SOM .jpg 


iWave’s iW-RainboW-G28M SoDIMM SOM is based on any one of four Xilinx Zynq SoCs




iWave’s SOM design obviously takes advantage of the pin compatibility built into the Xilinx Zynq Z-7000S and Z-7000 device families.


You’ll find the announcement for the iW-RainboW-G28M SoDIMM SOM here and the data sheet here.



Please contact iWave directly for more information about the iW-RainboW-G28M SoDIMM SOM.





Providing good, filtered, reliable, and precise power to FPGAs and SoCs is an engineering challenge and if you’d like help meeting with challenge for Xilinx FPGAs, Zynq SoCs, or Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs in the 10W to 50W range, then Avnet and Infineon’s January 16 Webinar titled “Infineon DC/DC PMIC for FPGAs/SoCs for 10W to 50W Applications” is for you.


Here are the key takeaways you should get from this free Webinar:



  • Learn to simplify your BOM by replacing many of your standard regulators with one Infineon PMIC


  • Learn how updating to Xilinx newest recommendations for rail power consolidation leads to best integration and use case


  • Discover how to re-use your power design to cover your complete set of application with FPGAs/SoCs and ASICs


  • Lower total solution cost by high level integration and component reduction (35% board area reduction)




Register here.



Yesterday’s blog post titled “Dialog Semi offers array of low-cost power solutions for Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs (and Spartan-7 FPGAs too!)” ended with this sentence:



“Note: If you’re looking for a PMIC to power your Spartan-7 FPGA design, check out Dialog Semi’s DA9062 with four buck converters and four LDOs.”



Dialog Semiconductor’s app note, AN-PM-096, titled “Power Solutions for Xilinx Spartan-7 Devices” has a full discussion of this topic and provides a reference design for the DA9062 PMIC that consumes a mere 420mm2 (20x21mm) of pcb area.


Here’s how the DA9062 PMIC’s four internal buck regulators and four internal LDO regulators match up to the power requirements of a Spartan-7 FPGA:




Dialog Semi Spartan-7 Table.jpg 



And here’s the pcb footprint for the DA9062 reference design:




Dialog Semi Spartan-7 pcb footprint.jpg 





As noted by Xilinx Senior Tech Marketing Manager for Analog and Power Delivery Cathal Murphy, the DA9062 PMIC makes a good match for the Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA family as well.




The recent introduction of the groundbreaking Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC means that there are big changes in store for the way advanced RF and comms systems will be designed. With as many as 16 RF-class ADCs and DACs on one device along with a metric ton or two of other programmable resources, the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC makes it possible to start thinking about single-chip Massive MIMO systems. A new EDN.com article by Paul Newson , Hemang Parekh, and Harpinder Matharu titled “Realizing 5G New Radio massive MIMO systemsteases a few details for building such systems and includes this mind-tickling photo:




Zynq UltraScale RFSoC Massive MIMO proto system.jpg 



A sharp eye and keen memory will link that photo to a demo from last October’s Xilinx Showcase demo at the Xilinx facility in Longmont, Colorado. Here’s Xilinx’s Lee Hansen demonstrating a similar system based on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC:





For more details about the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC, contact your friendly neighborhood Xilinx or Avnet sales rep and see these previous Xcell Daily blog posts:











Trenz Electronic has taken the largest Zynq SoC—a Z-7100—and placed it along with 1Gbyte of DDR3 SDRAM, 4Gbytes of eMMC Flash memory, and 32Mbytyes of QSPI Flash memory on a diminutive 8.5x8.5cm, industrial-grade, ready-to-ship SOM called the TE0782-02-100-2I. In addition to its dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 MPCore processor subsystem, the Zynq Z-7100 SoC provides you with a ton of programmable resources including 444K logic cells, 26.5Mbits of BRAM, 2020 DSP48 slices, and sixteen bulletproof GTX 12.5Gbps SerDes transceivers. Three 160-pin, high-speed connectors on the bottom of the SOM provide I/O connectivity between the Zynq Z-7100 SoC and the rest of your system.


Here are top and bottom photos of the Trenz Electronic TE0782-02-100-2I SOM:




Trenz TE0782-02-100-2I top.jpg

 Trenz Electronic TE0782-02-100-2I SOM based on a Xilinx Zynq Z-7100 SoC (top view)





Trenz TE0782-02-100-2I bottom.jpg 


Trenz Electronic TE0782-02-100-2I SOM based on a Xilinx Zynq Z-7100 SoC (bottom view)




Last month, a user on EmbeddedRelated.com going by the handle stephaneb started a thread titled “When (and why) is it a good idea to use an FPGA in your embedded system design?” Olivier Tremois (oliviert), a Xilinx DSP Specialist FAE based in France, provided an excellent, comprehensive, concise, Xilinx-specific response worth repeating in the Xcell Daily blog:




As a Xilinx employee I would like to contribute on the Pros ... and the Cons.


Let start with the Cons: if there is a processor that suits all your needs in terms of cost/power/performance/IOs just go for it. You won't be able to design the same thing in an FPGA at the same price.

Now if you need some kind of glue logic around (IOs), or your design need multiple processors/GPUs due to the required performance then it's time to talk to your local FPGA dealer (preferably Xilinx distributor!). I will try to answer a few remarks I saw throughout this thread:


FPGA/SoC: In the majority of the FPGA designs I’ve seen during my career at Xilinx, I saw some kind of processor. In pure FPGAs (Virtex/Kintex/Artix/Spartan) it is a soft-processor (Microblaze or Picoblaze) and in a [Zynq SoC or Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSoC], it is a hard processor (dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 [for Zynq SoCs] and Quad-A53+Dual-R5 [for Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs]). The choice is now more complex: Processor Only, Processor with an FPGA aside, FPGA only, Integrated Processor/FPGA. The tendency is for the latter due to all the savings incurred: PCB, power, devices, ...


Power: Pure FPGAs are making incredible progress, but if you want really low power in stand-by mode you should look at the Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSoC, which contains many processors and particularly a Power Management Unit that can switch on/off different regions of the processors/programmable logic.


Analog: Since Virtex-5 (2006), Xilinx has included ADCs in its FPGAs, which were limited to internal parameter measurements (Voltage, Temperature, ...). [These ADC blocks are] called the System Monitor. With 7 series (2011) [devices], Xilinx included a dual 1Msamples/sec@12-bits ADC with internal/external measurement capabilities. Lately Xilinx [has] announced very high performance ADCs/DACs integrated into the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC: 4Gsamples/sec@12 bits ADCs / 6.5Gsamples/sec@14 bits DACs. Potential applications are Telecom (5G), Cable (DOCSYS) and Radar (Phased-Array).


Security: The bitstream that is stored in the external Flash can be encoded [encrypted]. Decoding [decrypting] is performed within the FPGA during bitstream download. Zynq-7000 SoCs and Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSoCs support encoded [encrypted] bitstreams and secured boot for the processor[s].


Ease of Use: This is the big part of the equation. Customers need to take this into account to get the right time to market. Since 2012 and [with] 7 series devices, Xilinx introduced a new integrated tool called Vivado. Since then a number of features/new tools have been [added to Vivado]:


  • IP Integrator(IPI): a graphical interface to stitch IPs together and generate bitstreams for complete systems.


  • Vivado HLS (High Level Synthesis): a tool that allows you to generate HDL code from C/C++ code. This tool will generate IPs that can be handled by IPI.



  • SDSoC (Software Defined SoC): This tool allows you to design complete systems, software and hardware on a Zynq SoC/Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC platform. This tool with some plugins will allow you to move part of your C/C++ code to programmable logic (calling Vivado HLS in the background).


  • SDAccel: an OpenCL (and more) implementation. Not relevant for this thread.



There are also tools related to the MathWorks environment [MATLAB and Simulink]:



  • System Generator for DSP (aka SysGen): Low-level Simulink library (designed by Xilinx for Xilinx FPGAs). Allows you to program HDL code with blocks. This tools achieves even better performance (clock/area) than HDL code as each block is an instance of an IP (from register, adder, counter, multiplier up to FFT, FIR compiler, and VHLS IP). Bit-true and cycle-true simulations.


  • Xilinx Model Composer (XMC): available since ... yesterday! Again a Simulink blockset but based on Vivado HLS. Much faster simulations. Bit-true but not cycle-true.



All this to say that FPGA vendors have [expended] tremendous effort to make FPGAs and derivative devices easier to program. You still need a learning curve [but it] is much shorter than it used to be…





One of life’s realities is that the most advanced semiconductor devices—including the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs—require multiple voltage supplies for proper operation. That means that you must devote a part of the system engineering effort for a product based on these devices to the power subsystem. Put another way, it’s been a long, long time since the days when a single 5V supply and a bypass capacitor were all you needed. Fortunately, there’s help. Xilinx has a number of vendor partners with ready, device-specific power-management ICs (PMICs). Case in point: Dialog Semiconductor.


If you need to power a Zynq UltraScale+ ZU3EG, ZU7EV, or ZU9CG MPSoC, you’ll want to check out Dialog’s App Note AN-PM-095 titled “Power Solutions for Xilinx Zynq Ultrascale+ ZU9EG.” This document contains reference designs for cost-optimized, PMIC-based circuits specifically targeting the power requirements for Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs. According to Xilinx Senior Tech Marketing Manager for Analog and Power Delivery Cathal Murphy, Dialog Semi’s PMICs can be used for low-cost power-supply designs because they generate as many as 12 power rails per device. They also switch at frequencies as high as 3MHz, which means that you can use smaller, less expensive passive devices in the design.


It also means that your overall power-management design will be smaller. For example, Dialog Semi’s power-management ref design for a Zynq UltraScale+ ZU9 MPSoC requires only 1.5in2 of board space—or less for smaller devices in the MPSoC family.


You don’t need to visualize that in your head. Here’s a photo and chart supplied by Cathal:



Dialog Semi Zynq UltraScale Plus MPSoC PMICs.jpg 



The Dialog Semi reference design is hidden under the US 25-cent piece.


As the chart notes, these Dialog Semi PMICs have built in power sequencing and can be obtained preprogrammed for Zynq-specific power sequences from distributors such as Avnet.


Cathal also pointed out that Dialog Semi has long been supplying PMICs to the consumer market (think smartphones and tablets) and that the power requirements for Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs map well into the existing capabilities of PMICs designed for this market, so you reap the benefit of the company’s volume manufacturing expertise.


Note: If you’re looking for a PMIC to power your Spartan-7 FPGA design, check out Dialog Semi’s DA9062 with four buck converters and four LDOs.




Late last week, Avnet announced that it’s now offering the Aaware Sound Capture Platform paired with the MiniZed Zynq SoC development platform as a complete dev kit for voice-based cloud services including Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It’s listed on the Avnet site for $198.99. Avnet and Aaware are demonstrating the new kit at CES 2018, being held this week in Las Vegas. You’ll find them at the Eureka Park booth #50212 in the Sands Expo.



Aaware and Avnet Voice Dev Kit.jpg 


The Aaware Sound Capture Platform coupled to a Zynq-based Avnet MiniZed dev board



The Aaware Sound Capture Platform couples as many as 13 MEMS microphones (you can use fewer in a 1D linear or 2D array) with a Xilinx Zynq Z-7010 SoC to pre-filter incoming voice, delivering a clean voice data stream to local or cloud-based voice recognition hardware. The system has a built-in wake word (like “Alexa” or “OK, Google”) that triggers the unit’s filtering algorithms.


Avnet’s MiniZed dev board is usually based on a single-core Zynq 7Z007S but the MiniZed board included in this kit is actually based on a dual-core Zynq Z-7010 SoC. This board offers you outstanding wireless I/O in the form of a WiFi 802.11b/g/n module and a Bluetooth 4.1 module.




For more information about the Aaware Sound Capture Platform, see:







Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles, Part 231: “Developing Image Processing Platforms”—The Video

by Xilinx Employee ‎01-08-2018 09:33 AM - edited ‎01-15-2018 09:44 AM (5,475 Views)


Adam Taylor has been writing about the use of Xilinx All Programmable devices for image-processing platforms for quite a while and he has wrapped up much of what he knows into a 44-minute video presentation, which appears below. Adam is presenting tomorrow at the Xilinx Developer Forum being held in Frankfurt, Germany.





You’ll find a PDF of his slides attached below:


My good friend Jack Ganssle has long published The Embedded Muse email newsletter and the January 2, 2018 issue (#341!) includes an extensive review of the new $759, Zynq-based Siglent SDS1204X-E 4-channel DSO. Best of all, he’s giving one of these bad boys away at the end of January. (Contest details below.)



Siglent SDS-1204X-E.jpg 


Siglent’s Zynq-based SDS1204X-E 4-channel DSO. Photo credit: Jack Ganssle




The Siglent SDS1204X-E is the 4-channel version of the Siglent SDS1202X-E that EEVblog’s Dave Jones tore down last April. (See “Dave Jones tears down the new, <$400, Zynq-powered, Siglent SDS1202X-E 2-channel, 200MHz, 1Gsamples/sec DSO.”) I personally bought one of those scopes and I can attest to it’s being one sweet instrument. You should read Jack’s detailed review on his Web site, but here’s his summary:


“I'm blown away by the advanced engineering and quality of manufacturing exhibited by this and some other Chinese test equipment. Steve Leibson wrote a piece about how the unit works, and it's clear that the innovation and technology in this unit are world-class.”



In my own review of the Siglent SDS1202X-E last November, I wrote:



“Siglent’s SDS-1202X-E and SDS-1104X-E DSOs once again highlight the Zynq SoC’s flexibility and capability when used as the foundation for a product family. The Zynq SoC’s unique combination of a dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 MPCore processing subsystem and a good-sized chunk of Xilinx 7 series FPGA permits the development of truly high-performance platforms.”


Last April, I wrote:


“The new SDS1000X-E DSO family illustrates the result of selecting a Zynq SoC as the foundation for a system design. The large number of on-chip resources permit you to think outside of the box when it comes to adding features. Once you’ve selected a Zynq SoC, you no longer need to think about cramming code into the device to add features. With the Zynq SoC’s hardware, software, and I/O programmability, you can instead start thinking up new features that significantly improve the product’s competitive position in your market.


“This is precisely what Siglent’s engineers were able to do. Once the Zynq SoC was included in the design, the designers of this entry-level DSO family were able to think about which high-performance features they wished to migrate to their new design.”




All of that is equally true for the Siglent SDS1204X-E 4-channel DSO, which is further proof of just how good the Zynq SoC is when used as a foundation for an entire product-family.


Now if you want to win the Siglent SDS1204X-E 4-channel DSO that Jack’s giving away at the end of January, you first need to subscribe to The Embedded Muse. The subscription is free, Jack’s an outstanding engineer and a wonderful writer, and he’s not going to sell or even give your email address to anyone else so consider the Embedded Muse subscription a bonus for entering the drawing. After you subscribe, you can enter the contest here. (Note: It’s Jack’s contest, so if you have questions, you need to ask him.)


Looking to turbocharge Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home? Aaware’s Zynq-based kit is the tool you need.

by Xilinx Employee ‎01-04-2018 02:13 PM - edited ‎01-05-2018 12:34 PM (4,023 Views)


How do you get reliable, far-field voice recognition; robust, directional voice recognition in the presence of strong background noise; and multiple wake words for voice-based cloud services such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home? Aaware has an answer with its $199, Zynq-based Far-Field Development Platform. (See “13 MEMS microphones plus a Zynq SoC gives services like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home far-field voice recognition clarity.”) A new Powered by Xilinx Demo Shorts video gives you additional info and another demo. (That’s a Zynq-based krtkl snickerdoodle processing board in the video.)





Powered by Xilinx: Another look at KORTIQ’s FPGA-based AIScale CNN Accelerator

by Xilinx Employee ‎01-04-2018 02:00 PM - edited ‎01-04-2018 02:16 PM (4,216 Views)


A previous blog at the end of last November discussed KORTIQ’s FPGA-based AIScale CNN Accelerator, which takes pre-trained CNNs (convolutional neural networks)—including industry standards such as ResNet, AlexNet, Tiny Yolo, and VGG-16—compresses them, and fits them into Xilinx’s full range of programmable logic fabrics. (See “KORTIQ’s AIScale Accelerator fits trained CNNs into large or small All Programmable devices, allowing you to pick the right price/performance ratio for your application.”) A short, new Powered by Xilinx video provides more details about Kortiq and its accelerated CNN.


In the video, KORTIQ CEO Harold Weiss discusses using low-end Zynq SoCs (up to the Z-7020) and Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs (the ZU2 and ZU3) to create low-power solutions that deliver “just enough” performance for target industrial applications such as video processing, which requires billions of operations per second. The Zynq SoCs and Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs consume far less power than competing GPUs and CPUs while accelerating multiple CNN layers including convolutional layers, pooling layers, fully connected layers, and adding layers.


Here’s the new video:





If you want your design to run at maximum speed at the lowest possible power consumption (and who does not?), then you want to run your algorithms using fixed-point hardware. With that in mind, MathWorks has just published an extensive guide to “Best Practices for Converting MATLAB Code to Fixed Point” for MATLAB-based designs with a nearly hour-long companion video.





Vivado 2017.4 is now available. Download it now to get these new features (see the release notes for complete details):





Download the new version of the Vivado Design Suite HLx editions here.





Continental AG has announced its Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit, based on Xilinx All Programmable technology and developed in collaboration with Xilinx. According to the company, “…the Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit will enable Continental’s customers to get to market faster by building upon the Open Computing Language (OpenCL) framework…” and “…offers a scalable product family for assisted and automated driving fulfilling the highest safety requirements (ASIL D) by 2019.” 




Continental Assisted Driving Control Unit.jpg 



Continental AG’s Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit is based on Xilinx All Programmable technology




Continental’s incorporation of Xilinx All Programmable technology “provides developers the ability to optimize software for the appropriate processing engine or to create their own hardware accelerators with the Xilinx All Programmable technology. The result is the ultimate freedom to optimize performance, without sacrificing latency, power dissipation, or the flexibility to move software algorithms between the integrated chips, as the project progresses.”


“Our Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit will enable automotive engineers to create their own differentiated solutions for machine learning, and sensor fusion. Xilinx’s All Programmable Technology was chosen as it offers flexibility and scalability to address the ever-changing and new requirements along the way to fully automated self-driving cars,” said Karl Haupt, Head of Continental’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit. “For Continental, the Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit is a central element for implementing the required functional safety architecture and, at the same time, a host for the comprehensive environment model and driving functions needed for automated driving.”


Continental will be exhibiting at next week’s CES in Las Vegas.





By Adam Taylor



What better way to start the New Year than with a new Adam Taylor MicroZed Chronicles blog? – The Editor




Following on from the popularity of my final blog of last year where I presented several tips for better image-processing systems, I thought I would kick off the 2018 series of blogs by providing a number of tips for using the XADC and Sysmon in Zynq SoCs and Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs.


Whether our targeted device uses a XADC or Sysmon depends upon the device family. If we are targeting a 7 series FPGA or Zynq SoC device, we will be using the XADC. If the target is an UltraScale FPGA, UltraScale+ FPGA, or a Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, we’ll be using a Sysmon block. Behaviorally, the on-chip XADC and Sysmon blocks are very similar but there are some minor differences in architecture and maximum sampling rates between the two. Including the XADC or Sysmon adds a very interesting analog/mixed-signal capability to your design and helps reduce the number of external components. Because they can monitor internal device parameters along with external signals, you can also use the XADC/Sysmon blocks to implement a comprehensive system health and security monitoring solution critical for many applications.


Here are some of my favourite tips for using the Xilinx XADC/Sysmon blocks:




  • Remember Nyquist’s sampling theorem and configure sample clocks correctly







To prevent signal aliasing, you must set the XADC/Sysmon sampling rate to at least twice the frequency of the signal being quantized. When sampling external signals, the XADC and Sysmon have different maximum sampling frequencies of 1000Ksamples/sec and 200Ksamples/sec respectively. To set the appropriate sampling frequency, we need to consider the relationship between the clock provided to the XADC/Sysmon (called DClock) and the resultant internally derived clock used for sampling (called ADC Clock). Both the XADC and Sysmon take a minimum of 26 internal ADC Clock cycles to perform a conversion. To achieve the maximum conversion rate of 1000KSPS for the XADC, we therefore need to set the ADC Clock at 26 MHz. For the Sysmon block, we need to set the ADC Clock to 5.2MHz to achieve the full 200ksamples/sec sample rate. ADC clock frequencies below these will result in lower sampling rates. Correctly setting the sampling rate depends upon the device you are using and the access method:



  1. Zynq PS APB Access – The XADC is clocked using the PCAP_2X clock which has a nominal frequency of 200MHz. This is divided further internally within the DevC to generate a DClock for the XADC, which has a maximum frequency of 50MHz using the XADCIF_CFG[TCKRATE] register settings. This clock is then further divided down (minimum division by 2) using the XDAC configuration register to select the desired conversion rate.
  2. Zynq MPSoC APB Access – The PS and PL Sysmon are clocked by the AMS clock with a range 0 to 52 MHz. This is then divided further by the Sysmon to create the ADC Clock used for sampling. This further division is a minimum of 2 for the PS Sysmon or 8 for the PL Sysmon using the Sysmon configuration clock division registers PS/PL CONFIG_REG2.
  3. AXI Access using FPGA, Zynq SoC, or Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC (PL Sysmon) – Use the system management wizard or XADC wizard configuration to determine the AXI clock frequency and hence the sampling clock via the IP customization tab. The required sample clock frequency can then be supplied by either a fabric clock (Zynq SoC or Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC) or clock wizard (FPGA, Zynq SoC, or Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC).





  • Configure the Analog Inputs Correctly






The analog inputs are defined by IP Integrator or software to be either unipolar or bipolar and you can control the input configuration for each analog input individually. When a unipolar signal is quantized, the input signal can range between 0V and 1V. For a bipolar input, the differential voltage between the Vp and Vn inputs is ±0.5V. Selecting the right mode ensures the best performance and avoids damaging the analog inputs. For unipolar configurations, Vp cannot be negative with respect to Vn. For bipolar inputs, Vp and Vn can swing positive and negative with respect the common mode (reference) voltage. Bipolar mode provides better noise performance because any common-mode noise coupled onto the Vp and Vn signals will be removed thanks to differential sampling.


When it comes to providing better performance in electrically noisy environments, you can also turn on input-channel averaging to average out the noise.





  • Leverage the External Multiplexer Capabilities





Both the XADC and the Sysmon can accept as many as seventeen external differential analog signals using one dedicated Vp/Vn pair and sixteen Auxiliary Vp/Vn pins. Doing so of course uses several I/O signal pins—as many as 34 I/O pins if all analog inputs are used. This may present issues, especially on smaller devices where I/O-pin availability might be tightly constrained so the XADC/Sysmon can drive an external multiplexer that reduces the number of pins required and also allows you to use and external mux with added protection for harsh operating environments (e.g. ESD protection).






  • Consider the Anti-Aliasing Filter effect on Conversion Performance





Implementing an Anti-Aliasing filter on the front end of the XADC/Sysmon external inputs is critical to ensuring that only the signals we want are quantized.


The external resistor and capacitors in the AAF will increase the overall settling time. Therefore, we need to ensure the external AAF also does not adversely affect the total settling time and consequently the conversion performance. Failing to provide adequate system-level settling time can result in ADC measurement errors because the sampling capacitor will not charge to its final value.


Xilinx APP 795 Driving the Xilinx Analog-to-Digital Converter provides very useful information on this subject.





  • Use the Alarms and Set Appropriate Thresholds







Both the XADC and Sysmon can monitor internal power supply voltages and temperatures. This is a great feature when we initially commission the boards because we can verify that the power supplies are delivering the expected voltages. We can even use the temperature sensor to verify thermal calculations at the high and low end of qualification environments.



When it comes to creating the run-time application you should use the temperature and voltage alarms, which are based on defined thresholds for core voltages and device temperature. Should the measured parameter fall outside of these defined thresholds, an alarm allows further action to be taken. Configured correctly this alarm capability can be used to generate an interrupt which alerts the processing system to a problem. Depending upon which alarm which has been raised, the system can then act to either protect itself or undertake graceful degradation, thus preventing sudden failure.




Hopefully these tips will enable you to create smoother XADC/Sysmon solutions. If you experience any issues, I have a page on my website that links to all previous XADC / Sysmon examples in this series.   





You can find the example source code on GitHub.



Adam Taylor’s Web site is http://adiuvoengineering.com/.



If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




First Year E Book here


First Year Hardback here.




MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg 




Second Year E Book here


Second Year Hardback here




MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg 




Xcell Daily will return after a Winter Break

by Xilinx Employee ‎12-24-2017 07:27 AM - edited ‎12-24-2017 02:41 PM (6,801 Views)

Hello. The Xcell Daily blog is on holiday over the Winter break. Please have a Happy New Year!


OKI IDS and Avnet have jointly announced a new board for developing ADAS (automated driver assist systems) and advanced SAE Level 4/5 autonomous driving systems based on two Xilinx UltraScale+ MPSoCs.





OKI Avnet ADAS Platform Based on Two Zynq UltraScale Plus MPSoCs.jpg 




Avnet plans to start distributing the board in Japan in February, 2018 and will then expand into other parts of Asia. The A4-sized board interfaces to as many as twelve sensors including cameras and other types of imagers. The board operates on 12V and, according to the announcement, consumes about 20% of the power compared to similar hardware based on GPUs because it employs the Xilinx UltraScale+ MPSoCs as its foundation.  


Want to see this board in person? You can, at the Xilinx booth at Automotive World 2018 being held at Tokyo Big Site from January 17th to 19th. (Hall East 6, 54-47)


About the Author
  • Be sure to join the Xilinx LinkedIn group to get an update for every new Xcell Daily post! ******************** Steve Leibson is the Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Planning at Xilinx. He started as a system design engineer at HP in the early days of desktop computing, then switched to EDA at Cadnetix, and subsequently became a technical editor for EDN Magazine. He's served as Editor in Chief of EDN Magazine, Embedded Developers Journal, and Microprocessor Report. He has extensive experience in computing, microprocessors, microcontrollers, embedded systems design, design IP, EDA, and programmable logic.