REC FPGA Seminar

IAP 1998, Jan. 21st-30th

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Seminar slides are now available for session 1, session 2, session 3, and session 4.

Although FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) are commonplace in the computer industry, many MIT students have yet to be exposed to these useful digital building blocks. This IAP, the REC will offer a seminar which consists of short lectures and a hands-on component. The lectures are open to the public, but enrollment is limited for the hands-on FPGA experience.

The lectures on FPGAs will address the following issues (and more):

  • What is an FPGA?
  • The state of the art in FPGA technology
  • Role in todays marketplace
  • Details of the internal structure
  • Design methodology, including architectural optimizations
  • Practical applications
  • Reconfigurable hardware processors
  • Research efforts in FPGAs and reconfigurable processing

    Lectures are scheduled for January 21st at 2PM and on January 23rd at 2PM. Lectures will be held in the 6.004 lab, but will be moved to a classroom nearby if there is sufficient demand.

    Participation in the hands-on component of the course requires students to purchase the RHP4K from Xtreme Ideas. This FPGA-based reconfigurable hardware processor will be the platform on which students will implement simple designs and gain experience with CAE tools. The RHP4K will be available in kit form for those students who wish to save some money and are skilled in electronics assembly. Students who enroll in the class will be entitled to a discount off of the listed price.

    Development software for the RHP4K is now available either directly through the REC or you can order it yourself from The software comes bundled with a book titled "Xilinx, Student Edition" (title keyword: Xilinx). Because the student edition package is limited to 8K gate FPGAs, students will be using either 4003E, 4005E, 4006E, or 4008E FPGAs.

    Students should expect the course to cost around $200-$400 total, depending upon which options they decide to purchase for their kit. Enrollment is limited to 10 students (soft cap). Enrollment is open to students, faculty, staff, and outside interests.

    To apply for enrollment, send mail to, along with the following information (incomplete applications will be summarily rejected):

    Deadline for enrollment is December 5th, 1997.

    Note that no registration is required or desired to attend the lecture portion of the seminar; it is open to everyone.

    Registration is now closed; all those who preregistered should have received notification via e-mail.

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