Actel ProASIC PLUS FPGAs Powers Advanced Underwater Seismograph

12/14/2004 - Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced that the company's flash-based field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) were chosen by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) for use in its advanced underwater seismograph. The MBARI seismographs are located on the floor of Monterey Bay, where they use analog sensors to capture data, which is then stored on a hard disk drive. MBARI will utilize Actel's ProASIC Plus devices to handle a host of important functions in the underwater seismograph, including digital filtering of the ADC (analog-to-digital converter) signals and serving as the DMA (direct memory access) engine and the parallel IDE interface for the system's hard disk drive. Actel's single-chip ProASIC Plus devices were chosen for their low-power operation and high reliability, which enable higher performance and a greater product lifespan for the MBARI seismographs.

"Our seismographs exist in an extremely harsh environment, at depths of several thousand feet, and cannot be serviced. Therefore, it was crucial that we select components to maximize the accuracy of our data, and the reliability and lifespan of our systems," said Wayne Radochonski, senior software engineer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. "The low quiescent current of Actel's ProASIC Plus devices was the primary reason for their selection as it provides tremendous benefits in power savings over previous designs. Being live at power-up, Actel's FPGAs avoid an in-rush current spike upon power up, thus providing further power reduction for our battery-powered seismograph."

Martin Mason, director, flash product marketing at Actel, said, "David Packard founded MBARI in 1987 to conduct advanced research and education in ocean science and technology, and to do so through the development of better instruments, systems and methods for scientific research in the deep waters of the ocean. The inherent benefits of our flash-based ProASIC Plus devices make them an ideal solution for challenging applications such as the MBARI seismographs, and we are pleased to be a part of this important environmental project."

Unlike SRAM-based FPGAs that must be programmed by off-chip memory, the ProASIC Plus devices are built on a nonvolatile flash fabric, which retains the design even when in a powered-down state, making them live at power-up and eliminating the need to be reconfigured from an external device during the power-up sequence. Because there is no need for external configuration memory, Actel's flash-based ProASIC Plus FPGAs require less area on the board, use less power than alternative solutions and help to simplify board and system design.

About ProASIC Plus
The ProASIC Plus family consists of devices ranging from 75,000 to 1 million system gates. The combination of a fine-grained, single-chip ASIC-like architecture and non-volatile flash configuration memory makes Actel's ProASIC Plus offering a strong ASIC alternative. The devices are live at power-up, low-power, highly secure, immune to neutron-induced firm errors, and require no separate configuration memory, all characteristics shared by ASICs. The ProASIC Plus architecture and design methodology support popular FPGA and ASIC tool flows, reducing time-to-market and permitting designers to migrate easily between FPGA and ASIC solutions.

About Actel
Actel Corporation is a supplier of innovative programmable logic solutions, including field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) based on antifuse and flash technologies, high-performance intellectual property (IP) cores, software development tools and design services, targeted for the high-speed communications, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) replacement and radiation-tolerant markets. Founded in 1985, Actel employs more than 500 people worldwide. The Company is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, CA, 94043-4655. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835). Internet::

The Actel name and logo are trademarks of Actel Corporation.

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