Our CTO Krzysztof and Senior FPGA developer Mateusz have presented an article on SpinalHDL in Trondheim 2024

#highspeed, #FPGA, #forum, #Trondheim, #SpinalHDL

The Trondheim FPGA forum hit its highest number of visitors and exhibitors in 2024. To learn about the FPGA forum and to show Embevity’s capabilities we have sent two of our hot shots to give a presentation on SpinalHDL and the use cases we have covered using that specific Hardware Description Language.

A few words about SpinalHDL

SpinalHDL is an Open Source project started by Charles Papon in December 2014. We have been using it since 2021 to speed up some of our FPGA development. It’s an efficient way of describing hardware: no need to deal with implementation details. Time-boost you gain could be impressive.

Some of the advantages that SpinalHDL gives:

  1. There is no logic overhead in the generated code.
  2. SpinalHDL is interoperable with VHDL and Verilog.
  3. Simulation using Verilator enables simulation of not only your design, but also testing of firmware running in simulated design.
  4. Large SpinalHDL standard library.
  5. Open-source tool with licensing scheme enabling usage in commercial applications.
  6. Responsiveness of SpinalHDLโ€™s creator, Charles Papon.

Some of the SpinalHDL drawbacks that we have discovered:

  1. Documentation: could use much more use case examples, can’t avoid looking into library implementation (there is a Workshop GitHub repository though).
  2. The SpinalHDL engine is mature and quite robust, but library components may experience serious problems(found a buggy SPI slave peripheral).
  3. Conventions above the syntax โ€“Scala freedom to create and overload literally any operator makes understanding of the code a bit harder.
  4. Some of the high-level abstractions make the learning curve a bit steeper.

About the Trondheim FPGA forum

The year 2024 has welcomed the largest audience in Trondheim. Although FPGA development is a niche within the embedded domain, its popularity appears to be growing. This is also due to the increasing number of applications that require FPGAs.

There has been an opportunity to gain an overview of the Norwegian FPGA market. Even though the presentations are primarily conducted in English, it seems that the Trondheim event largely caters to the domestic Norwegian market.

Congratulations once again to Krzysztof and Mateusz on their presentation.

Here is the link to our presentation: FPGA forum 2024 Trondheim – Embevity.

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