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Published on Jul 29, 2009
[Recorded: July 22, 2009] The introduction of the first commercial programmable logic devices (PLD) in the mid-1970s opened the door to a host of applications including telecommunications, audio and video broadcasting and storage where the combination of performance, cost and power efficiency are particularly important.
Programmable logic blurs the line between software and hardware. These chips contain a program in its memory that allows them to be re-programmed. That sounds like software. But the program creates logic gates and wires connecting them. That sounds like hardware. Performance improvement gained by using programmable logic instead of microprocessors can be a factor of one hundred, with comparable power reduction to match. But today we don't see programmable logic computers. Or at least, we don't know them when we see them. Do we need new definitions and new dividing lines?
In this lecture and Q&A session, Steve Trimberger, holder of over 150 PLD patents and Xilinx Fellow, discusses the challenges and key milestones in the development of programmable logic and its impact on computing history. He outlines the successes and failures of configurable computing, and discusses PLDs prospects for the future.