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Xilinx prepares to boost FPGA activity in India

Posted: 12 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share


FPGA vendor Xilinx Inc. said it plans to boost its funding efforts and long-term research in Indian technical institutes to support increased use of FPGAs in India and to develop tools and methodologies for use about four years from now.

Xilinx said it intends to promote the use of FPGAs among Indian design houses and sharply increase hiring at its development center in Hyderabad, run by CMC Ltd.

A stepping up in activity in India by Xilinx comes shortly after STMicroelectronics pulled back from an ambitious plan to develop FPGA technology with an open-source element to the engineering from its base in India.

"Indian curricula now pay more emphasis to traditional VLSI design. But we plan to invest heavily in installing FPGA labs in the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology. Supporting education and research based on Xilinx platforms so that we can come out with new tools and methodologies is the aim," said Ivo Bolsens, Xilinx chief technology officer.

Key areas for joint research with both Indian technical institutes and private companies are being identified and Xilinx is looking for specialized design capabilities in specific application domains for partnerships.

CMC now moved beyond its original remit, to develop circuit blocks as intellectual property (IP) for Xilinx. It is now also engaged in embedded products and software development. The center has generated a dozen IP blocks already, almost 10 percent of Xilinx's IP block portfolio. "This center is ramping up faster than we expected. From 35 staff now, we expect to have about 300 in two years or so," Bolsens said.

India would benefit from using FPGAs as they are of lower cost and provide a lower barrier to entry therefore encouraging the formation of more startup companies, Bolsens said. "Focusing on programmable fabrics, such as FPGAs, add value quicker and at cheaper cost than dealing with the pain of deep sub-micron issues," Bolsens added.

STMicroelectronics has recently abandoned plans to develop its own FPGA technology from a base in India. STMicroelectronics embarked on a campaign to promote its Generalized Open Source Programmable Logic (Gospl) platform, aiming to make it the Linux of the programmable logic world back in Novemeber 2004. But the company announced it had pulled the plug on its open-source FPGA hardware and software project April 26, 2005.

- K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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