[rc5] I'm interested in FPGAs. How do I start ?

Darxus darxus at Op.Net
Tue Nov 4 23:45:51 EST 1997


the one responce I've gotten so far was from Richard Schwarz <aaps at erols.com>

he said: "try at http://www.associatedpro.com/aps"

this page belongs to a company that sells complete starter kits for those
interested in FPGAs.  The cheapest was:

"KIT CONFIGURATIONS APS-X84 - FPGA Board (ISA/stand alone) , 5202 FPGA,
prom socket, oscillator socket, timer circuit, status LEDs, download
software, C code, 8255 chip, decode pal, strapable PC address, accepts
XILINX Download cable. Four 20 pin IDC IO connectors. VHDL examples and C
code boilerplates.  $249.00"

I gotta get me some of these chips....

-- for those who still dunno what FPGAs (Field Programable Gate Arrays)
are, they're not quite as fast as burnt in chips (say, oh, pentiums, sound
chips, video chips), but they're reprogramable, and still mighty friggin
fast.

a page I read on weaknesses of cryptography (got the url from this list -
http://www.bsa.org/policy/encryption/cryptographers.html), kept mentioning
the speed and inexpensiveness of FPGAs as a major problem (that was enough
to make me want 'em bad all by itself)

and the really cool thing about FPGAs is that they can do more than just
crack RC5, they can be reprogrammed to do the mersinne primes thing,
chess, and (I'm guessing), cool stuff like OpenGL (3D stuff Quake uses),
MPEG, major floating point acceleration, and all kindsa funky stuff.

at this point I'd still say I know nothing about these things, other than
that I want them very badly (multiple FPGAs apparently work well in
paralel), and that it blows my mind that this technology is not much more
common, and that they'd help us (people interested in distributed
computing) out a *great* deal :)

other stuff I know about them:  Xilinx (http://www.xilinx.com) makes good
FPGA chips.  2 FPGA related sites are http://www.plnv.com/ and
http://techweb.cmp.com/edtn/index.html, and the "RC5 on FPGAs" web page,
by our good friend Barrel is at
http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~barrel/rc5.html

the http://www.associatedpro.com/aps page also had a tutorial on
programing FPGAs, which might be very useful.


If anybody learns more about this stuff, please post it here...

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               darxus at op.net / http://www.op.net/~darxus 
         "You shall know the truth, and it shall make you odd."

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