Send in your ideas. Deadline June 1, 2024
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Theme fund: NGI Assure
Start: 2022-06
End: 2023-12
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Open toolchain for high performance FPGAs

FPGAs are reconfigurable chips capable of handling many electronic signals in parallel. They are used in network equipment like backbone switches, firewalls, video devices like surveillance cameras and radio equipment like mobile-phone base stations and radar systems and satellites to process high volumes of data with very low latency. FPGAs are also used to test digital circuit designs before they are manufactured as chips.

The functionality of FPGAs is determined by a configuration file which is loaded into the FPGA at power-on. The configuration file is usually generated from a design file by a proprietary closed source tool provided by the manufacturer of the FPGA. nextpnr-Kintex will provide a complete set of open source tools to generate a configuration file for the widely used family of Kintex7 FPGAs from manufacturer Xilinx/AMD without having to use any proprietary tools. This will empower digital design engineers to have the guarantee that no backdoor is implemented on FPGA based devices by the proprietary design tool provided by the vendor. The availability of the source code of the FPGA design tool will also allow innovators to come up with new use cases for FPGAs currently not possible with proprietary tools. Overall, the project will help to increase the security of FPGA based wired and wireless network infrastructure in Europe.

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This project was funded through the NGI Assure Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 957073.