In our university, we got a site-license of the software Leapfrog (Cadence Inc.) for any students and staffs to learn HDL language on the educational computer center of the university. In my laboratory, using this software, we have started a research since 1996 as a the graduating thesis research in the undergraduate course.
Although I belong to the engineering department now, I got a Ph. D in the Physics Department of Tokyo University in 1985. My major subject is the computational physics. As an interest of the computational physics, I have been studying the electronic structure of solid states, the quantum spin system, and the neural network system through the numerical simulations on the conventional computers. However the efficiency for the calculation is not so well for such calculations even though we use the parallel computer. It is because that the algorithm is not always suitable for the present CPU and its surrounding environment. In order to avoid this situation, the contributions to make a special computer have been performed in the world however such contribution is too sophisticated to do physics. The new FPGA integrated circuit is very attractive to myself since the logics are very flexibly and dynamically designed. It is my motivation to start the research as a graduating thesis research.
In the research this year, we bought the Flex Design kit/CQ from CQ publish Inc. which consists of a MAX 7000 chip, the circuit board and a limited version of the Max-Plus software. Using the VHDL languages, the compiler and the synthesizer in the university, we can make some logics on the Flex Design kit. Extending the research to a reasonable size, we have made our own board which consists of the Max 7000 chip taken from the kit, SRAM and the interface to the ISA bus of a DOS/V computer. In order to configure the chip, we made a program by ourselves for down-loading the configuration file from PC to the chip via 5 bit signal lines. Making the down-load program, we get the document of the FPGA from the WWW site of the Altera company whose open atmosphere is very impressive. Using the remaining signal pins, we can communicating the PC with the FPGA and the SRAM with FPGA, successfully. Thus we have got a minimum technique to make a circuit and the physical background for considering the new logics.
In order to improve the environment for making VHDL
programs, we bought the Peak-VHDL/FPGA compiler and the
synthesizer in an academic prices. Thus if we plan to make a
large circuit using larger the FLEX chips, we need a full
version of Max Plus. However when we asked the price to a
Japanese dealer for Max Plus, the price is far from our
budget of a year. It is the reason why we apply the
university programs. I think that what we are making is
fruitful for many people to use the Altera chips. Thank you
for your consideration.