1/28/2004 - As FPGAs play a more complex role in digital design, university research has become vital to the advancement of FPGA technology. To that end, Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) announced the immediate availability of the Quartus® II University Interface Program (QUIP) toolkit to help university researchers work with Altera’s Quartus II design software. Featuring documentation, tutorials, data files, and sample code, QUIP provides university researchers with greater resources for conducting FPGA research.
The QUIP program has already received support from university researchers across North America. UCLA’s Dr. Jason Cong comments, “Where university researchers excel is in developing new ideas and new algorithms. Without a complete CAD system, however, it is very difficult to test and validate them. QUIP will prove helpful for researchers who want to try out their ideas in a complete, industrial-strength CAD tool suite.”
Dr. Russell Tessier of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst states, “Altera’s new QUIP interface tools provide a unique opportunity for university FPGA researchers to test their ideas on existing commercial Altera devices. The tool suite provides full access to StratixTM architecture information, which is critical in evaluating the results of academic research. QUIP also supports a series of interfaces to the Quartus II software, allowing researchers the opportunity to selectively replace portions of Altera’s existing software flow with their own newly-developed tools. QUIP will provide ample opportunities for near-term academic research in low-power and incremental FPGA design implementation, among other topics.”
Dr. Steve Wilton of the University of British Columbia agrees. “FPGA’s are becoming incredibly complex with heterogeneous routing architectures, heterogeneous logic and memory architectures, and heterogeneous I/O architectures. These devices lead to new, thorny research problems; in order to investigate these problems, access to an entire design software suite, such as that provided by QUIP, is essential. It will enable researchers at universities around the world to incorporate their ideas into a real, industrial framework, ensuring that their research results are meaningful.”
University researchers often have great ideas for new software algorithms or entirely new phases of the design software flow, but lack the resources to build a complete design software flow to test their concepts. By using QUIP to add a new algorithm into the Quartus II software, a university researcher can now quickly test how well a new algorithm works on FPGAs in a full design software flow. This will result in an increase in both quantity and quality of FPGA design software research. Companies attempting to commercialize research can also use QUIP to interface into the Quartus II software, enabling them to get their products to market without building a complete design software flow from scratch.
“There are a lot of great minds in universities,” said Dr. Vaughn Betz, director of software engineering at Altera. “Altera, and the entire FPGA industry, have benefited enormously from their work in the past. But as FPGAs have become more complex, it has become extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any university to develop a complete design software flow that can handle all the features and complexity of a modern FPGA. The result is that most research is performed on highly simplified FPGA models, using simplified design software flows. With QUIP, we hope to enable researchers to work on the full range of problems that modern FPGAs present, and to enable breakthroughs on any or all of these problems.”
“QUIP builds on the success of Altera’s university program. Last year Altera provided nearly 7,500 development kits to universities for teaching and research purposes,” said Mike Phipps, senior manager of the Altera University Program. “QUIP allows education to move to the next level with an exciting new research omponent. I am confident that QUIP will provide educators and researchers unprecedented ability to control and modify Altera’s Quartus II design software to fit their needs.”
The QUIP kit consists of documentation of the internal file interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs) that different phases of the Quartus II design software use to communicate with each other; documentation and data files containing all of the architecture and timing information required to write design software for the Altera Stratix and CycloneTM FPGA families; and tutorials and examples showing how to interface new logic synthesis, technology mapping, placement, floor planning, routing and other tools in the Quartus II software, and how to measure their result quality. QUIP is available for immediate download from www.altera.com/education/univ/quip/quip-overview.html.
About Quartus II Design Software
Altera’s easy-to-use Quartus II design software is the most efficient, comprehensive environment available for designing CPLDs, FPGAs, and HardCopyTM devices. The Quartus II design software includes a suite of advanced system-level design features, access to Altera’s extensive intellectual property portfolio, an advanced place-and-route engine including physical synthesis optimization technology, and comprehensive verification solutions. In addition, the latest third-party EDA synthesis and verification flows have been integrated into the Quartus II design software. For more information about the Quartus II design software, visit www.altera.com/software. Designers can also download Altera’s no-cost Quartus II Web Edition design software at www.altera.com/q2webedition.
Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is the world’s pioneer in system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) solutions. Combining programmable logic technology with software tools, intellectual property, and technical services, Altera provides high-value programmable solutions to approximately 14,000 customers worldwide. More information is available at www.altera.com.
Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations and all other words that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.
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