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Introduction to Field-programmable Gate Arrays

1.1 Introduction

Electronics revolutionized the 20th century and continues to make an impact in the 21st century. The birth and subsequent growth of the computer industry, the creation of mobile telephony and the general digitization of television and radio services has largely been responsible for the recent growth. In the 1970s and 1980s, electronic systems were created by aggregating standard components such as microprocessors and memory chips with digital logic components, e.g. dedicated integrated circuits (ICs) along with dedicated input/output (I/O) components on printed circuit boards (PCBs). As levels of integration grew, manufacturing working PCBs became more complex, largely due to increased component complexity in terms of the increase in the number of transistors and I/O pins but also the development of multi-layer boards with up to as many as 20 separate layers. Thus, the probability of incorrectly connecting components also grew, particularly as the possibility of successfully designing and testing a working system before production was coming under increasingly limited time pressure.

The problem was becoming more intense due to the difficulty that system descriptions were evolving as boards were being developed. Pressure to develop systems to meet evolving standards, or that could change after the board construction due to system alterations or changes in the design specification, meant that the concept of having ...

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