Electronic Design

Tool Gives Programmable Logic Wings To Fly

The benefits of reconfigurable logic have long been known to earthbound engineers. But it took a collaboration between Xilinx and Sandia National Labs to come up with a way to get FPGAs into orbit and beyond. The pair has developed the industry's first standalone triple module redundancy (TMR) tool.

Standard operating procedure for designers of space-borne circuitry is to use TMR schemes to mitigate the effects of radiation-related single-event effects (SEEs) on their system designs. Design of such systems means triplicate implementation of registers along with associated voting circuitry that selects functioning registers in the event of an SEE. It's long been held that implementation of TMR schemes is problematic and impractical with FPGAs.

But the TMR tool, when combined with Xilinx's QPRO Virtex-II radiation-tolerant platform FPGAs, shatters the notion that SEE-immune designs can't be implemented using FPGAs. The TMR tool automatically generates redundant and associated voting circuitry. Designers need only generate a design once while the parametrically selectable TMR tool replicates the design twice. Previously, this task was done manually. Automatic replication greatly enhances designer efficiency. At the same time, it eliminates the potential for error brought by hand replication.

Available immediately, the TMR tool (v6.31) comes with complete customer training. List price is $19,995.

Xilinx Inc.

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