Why FPGA skills are important

There are many skills that a a signal processing engineer should master in the field of wireless communications or communications systems in general. A remarkably valuable one is the ability to implement the physical layer algorithms on an FPGA. This is very interesting nowadays because some FPGA development environments (like a combination of Mathworks and Xilinx softwares) enable very quick cycles between development and hardware testing.

For engineers that are not involved in semiconductor design specifically and rather are more focused on research, it is true that no FPGA development platform will be as fast as developing a MATLAB script and clicking “run”. However, once you go through the required learning curve, there are relatively quick ways to transition from HDL development (in VHDL or Verilog) to testing in hardware. Moreover, in some cases, the VHDL/Verilog work itself may also be immensely reduced by using high-level synthesis tools like Vivado HLS or Mathworks’ HDL Coder. In the end, these modern tool allows the theoretical work to be evaluated in a practical environment (in hardware) with as little work as possible. That often can be quite interesting.

Why I am preparing the course

There is only one thing that in my opinion is not sufficiently mature in the field of FPGA development for signal processing: the educational material. Yes, there are incredibly many video and written tutorials out there, many of which are very good and helpful. However, there are not enough sequential materials that build up the skills progressively in a well thought manner.

In light of this reality, I have decided to prepare a course focusing on the development of wireless communications systems on FPGAs. It aims to go from the basics of the development environment, all over the basic wireless communications components such as modulation/demodulation, synchronization (carrier frequency/phase recovery and symbol timing recovery), filtering etc.

Free video samples

In this post, I would like to share two sample videos that I have prepared for the course. I would love to hear your feedback regarding both the quality of the presentation as well as the covered content. Also, if you are interested in the material, feel free to send me your contact and I will keep you posted regarding the launch date.

So here they are:

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