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Actel enables engineers to design at extreme abstraction levels

Posted: 22 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:actel? fusion technology? programmable system chip? psc? fpga?

Actel Corp. unveiled its Fusion technology, which it touts as the first to integrate mixed-signal analog capabilities with flash memory and FPGA fabric in a monolithic Programmable System Chip (PSC). According to the company, it is also the industry's first technology designed to bring true programmability to mixed-signal solutions.

The Fusion technology brings the benefits of programmable logic to application areas that until now have only been served by discrete analog component and mixed-signal ASIC suppliers. This new technology takes advantage of the unique properties of Actel's flash-based FPGAs, including a high-isolation, triple-well process and the ability to support high-voltage transistors to meet the requirements of mixed-signal system design. Additionally, when used in conjunction with the company's ARM7 and 8051-based soft MCU cores, the Fusion technology represents the definitive PSC platform.

"With the creation of the Actel Fusion technology, we aim to simplify the way systems are designed," said John East, president and CEO of Actel. "Leveraging the unique expertise acquired while creating the industry's leading flash-based FPGA devices, we have brought together the reprogrammable advantages of Actel's advanced flash FPGAs with analog components and large flash memory blocks into a landmark single-chip solution."

Fusion technology allows designers to use the same silicon for a variety of applications and/or quickly adapt to rapidly changing standards. It will also enable designers to design at both very high and very low levels of abstraction.

Fusion peripherals include hard analog IP and hard and/or soft digital IP. Peripherals will communicate across the FPGA fabric via a layer of soft gatesthe Fusion Backbone. Much more than a bus interface, the Fusion Backbone integrates a micro-sequencer within the FPGA fabric and will configure the individual peripherals and support low-level processing of peripheral data. The Fusion technology will also give designers unprecedented levels of flexibility by allowing them to easily reconfigure analog block settings to perform widely different functions by simply downloading data from embedded flash memory, added Actel.

To support this new technology, the company is developing a series of major tool innovations to help maximize designer productivity. Implemented as extensions to Actel's Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE), these new tools will allow designers to instantiate and configure peripherals within a design, establish links between peripherals, create or import building blocks or reference designs, and perform hardware/software verification. This tools suite will also add a comprehensive hardware/software debug capability as well as a suite of utilities to simplify development of embedded soft ARM and 8051 processor-based solutions.

Actel disclosed that it expects initial products based on its Fusion technology to be available in six to nine months.

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