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Designing with FPGAs and CPLDs [Paperback]

Bob Zeidman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

September 2002 1578201128 978-1578201129 1
* Choose the right programmable logic devices and development tools * Understand the design, verification, and testing issues * Plan schedules and allocate resources efficiently Choose the right programmable logic devices with this guide to the technolog

Designing with FPGAs and CPLDs guides readers through choosing the right programmable logic devices, understanding the design, verification, and testing issues involved with them, and more.

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About the Author

Bob Zeidman is the president of The Chalkboard Network, an e-learning company for high-tech professionals. He is also president of Zeidman Consulting, a hardware and software contract development firm. Since 1983, he has designed CPLDs, FPGAs, ASI

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Programmable devices have progressed through a long evolution to reach the complexity today to support an entire system on a chip (SOC). Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight but good overview July 4 2004
I bought this book to get started on FPGA design.
I found the book to be an mixture of high level concepts (how to test designs, design methodology) and low level (converting async. logic to sync.). With my little knowledge of Verilog this was fairly useful.
I can't help feeling that the book is aimed at engineering managers rather than engineers.
I liked the explanation of the internal structure of various PLDs. This gives a reasonable understanding of how these devices work, which is always a good thing. I also liked the design/test guidelines in Chapter 5. This gives a good overview of pitfalls and a basis for attacking a design, albeit quite briefly.
I didn't like the brevity and the 'overview' nature of much of the material. The book needs a big brother to actually get into the topics properly - I believe the Author has written a good book on Verilog so maybe that helps. I found the chapter on tools very dissappointing - it left me with a vague understanding of the various tools, but I would have liked a summary of available tools and information on costs and performance.
Taking out the questions and a few over-long code samples, the book has only around 150 pages of actual material, in fairly large print. It took 2-3 hours to read carefully.
Overall this book is a strange animal, but I found it fairly useful.
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I am an experienced embedded software engineer and part time digital design engineer. I was looking for a CPLD/FPGA book to help me with my first CPLD design. This was for a circuit that delivered highly accurate aircraft altitude to an autopilot system (very important stuff). I needed the following from a CPLD/FPGA book:
- An overview of CPLD/FPGA technology.
- How CPLDs and FPGAs have changed the way we must perform digital design (from the old days).
- Practical rules for creating proper synchronous design.
As the author (Bob Zeidman) points out, different sections of the book are intended for different audiences. For me, chapters 1 (history), 2 (CPLDS), and 5 (Design Techniques, Rules, and Guidelines) were the most important. I do not yet use FPGAs nor HDLs (though VHDL is in my near future). I never expect any book to answer all my questions; however, this one clearly answered the important questions I needed answered.
I used Altera's "MAX+PLUS II" tools to create, simulate (test) and program my circuit. Great tools, never crashed, excellent online help system and tutorials.
This book was critical in helping me design a reliable, testable, accurate circuit using synchronous design techniques. The circuit flies today in many business commuter aircraft.
By the way, there are some minor errors in the book (do you know of any books without errors?). I emailed Bob about it (the book gives you his URL and email address). Bob not only sent me errata information in like 2 hours, but provided an additional in depth explanation for an issue I was having with state machine design. Bob is also posting the errata info on his website - not THAT is customer service!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent, Informative Book Aug. 21 2003
Designing with FPGAs and CPLDs is an excellent introductory book, espcially for people just learning about programmable logic. It covers a wide range of topics in an interesting and informative manner. Also, the sidebars, of which there are many, have lots of great real-world experiential information. Every time I got to a page with a sidebar I'd immediately jump to it to see what was there. Often I'd come away with the thought, "So that's why they do it that way!". It's wonderful to see treatments of the kinds of bugs you'll encounter, good design practices that can be used to avoid these bugs, and most importantly the topic of designing for test. The latte, designing for testability, is so critical - especially as FPGAs explode in complexity.
My only suggestion for future editions is give pointers to "where to go next". Having whet my appetite for programmable logic, the next thing I want to do is apply it! Fortunately there are a number of FPGA starter kits from all the major suppliers - but a chapter that reviews these or points the reader to them would be a welcome addition.
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Programmable logic is making hardware design more like software design. Programmers need to understand these devices - how to write drivers, how to convert software algorithms into hardware, and how systems on a chip will change the relationship between hardware and software. This book is a great and complete description of the technologies, architectures, and uses of programmable devices. It describes existing devices as well as new devices that are being developed. The chapter on the Universal Design Methodology (UDM), a new system for designing hardware, is not only recommended for hardware designs, it can be adapted for software design as well.
I found this book well written, very informative and a complete source of information for anyone who is interested in designing with programmable logic devices. The book starts with the history of programmable logic and then explains CPLDs, FPGAs, as well as design techniques and rules, verification of the design, and electronic design tools. In short, this book covers all that a designer of programmable logic needs to know to start designing. In addition, the book provides a set of Verilog examples, in the Appendix, which is quite helpful for anyone who might not be familiar with this hardware design language.
Bob Zeidman has a wonderful writing style. He makes complex technical subjects interesting and very easy to follow. Furthermore, he motivates the reader to continue reading. I read the entire book, even though that I very rarely do so. Bob's extensive and unique experience, in hardware and software design, is clearly evident in this book. The reader can easily benefit from Bob's vast (almost two decades) of design experience, by simply reading this book.
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