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Cutting Edge Innovation with FPGAs

Artificial intelligence, as it turns out, is just too useful to remain up in the cloud. Demand for local AI processing is increasing as smart devices want the intelligence without the internet connection. Everyone is talking about AI at the Edge and Terasic is no exception. In fact, it’s their theme for this summer’s InnovateFPGA design contest.

FPGA virtues. (Source: Terasic)

Teams from all over the world are currently submitting their project proposals to show off their takes on artificial intelligence. Various cash prizes and Terasic development kits will be awarded to the best projects at the regional and global levels.  The top three teams from each region also receive a trip to Tianjin, China to present their designs at the grand finals during the 2019 International Conference on Field-Programmable Technology.

One of the criteria that teams will be judged on is their demonstration of Intel’s three FPGA virtues. These are the benefits that FPGAs bring to processor systems: boosting performance, adapting to changes, and expanding I/O. With the theme of AI, performance will likely be a big focus as FPGAs outperform traditional processors on the matrix operations common in neural networks, machine vision, and other related applications.

This year’s contest offers developers the choice of two Intel Cyclone V SoC platforms to build their innovative FPGA designs on. The DE10-Nano Kit, the star of last year’s contest, returns and is now accompanied by the new OpenVINO Starter Kit, a PCIe card with nearly 3x the logic elements of the DE10-Nano. Participants are also welcome to use Intel’s OpenVINO deep learning toolkit which just so happens to pair quite well with Terasic’s starter kit of the same name.

OpenVINO Starter Kit block diagram. (Source: Terasic)

For those reading this after the project submission deadline of June 30th, don’t worry. You can still participate without competing. Anyone interested in AI, FPGAs, or just exciting projects can register with InnovateFPGA as a community member. Each community member can vote for their 3 favorite projects in each of the 4 regions as well as provide comments and feedback to the competing teams. Voting will occur in two rounds, the first being July 1st-7th with regional finals being held October 9th-23rd. As a reward for being an active community member, Terasic will hold drawings for two DE10-Nano kits each week of the voting rounds.

Visit the InnovateFPGA Portal to register as a community member and start browsing the projects. Use your votes wisely and make sure your favorite projects make it to the finals!

About this author

Image of Taylor Roorda Taylor Roorda, Associate Applications Engineer at Digi-Key Electronics, joined the organization in 2015 with primary areas of interest around embedded systems, programmable logic and signal processing. He holds a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University and spends his free time playing guitar and writing music.
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