Proposal: FPGA and ASIC

This is already covered in Electronics.SE, which currently needs more traffic anyway. There is not enough support in Stack Overflow, nor in Electronics SE combined to even come close to warranting its own site. Additionally, sites which try to succeed nearly always end up collapsing in beta, and returning the knowledge domain back to electronics SE.


Why should this topic succeed from it's current home?

  • 2
    How did arduino get its own SE then, out of interest? arduino.stackexchange.com
    – stanri
    Jul 12 '21 at 19:38
  • 2
    @stanri the pessimist in me wants to say that it's purely branding and ignorance of the previous system, along with a hint of SEO.
    – tuskiomi
    Jul 12 '21 at 19:40
  • 2
    @stanri - earlier in the Area51 process there wasn't as much ... consideration given to splintering as there should have been
    – warren
    Jul 14 '21 at 21:12

I wouldn't consider "Embedded Systems" to be the same as "FPGA and ASIC". However, the discussion in an "Embedded Systems" board would mostly be about software design such as C or C++ or python, etc used with linux or other realtime operating system, or how it would talk with some IC on the board using PCIe address space, or what not.

In contrast "FPGA and ASIC" has more to do with logic design as described by an HDL language and mapped into physical logic that it infers in the silicon of the FPGA or ASIC. "FPGA and ASIC" would talk about the compiler tools and the physical implementation of hardware such as logic gates and flip-flops, drivers, etc. Its not software code at all.

"Programmable logic and FPGA design" would be similar. But this proposal was closed. However, I'm actually proposing to make this one even larger than just programmable logic and FPGA, by also including the topic ASIC design, which have to do with compiling the HDL down to the transistor level and fabricating them directly in silicon. FPGA and ASIC are in a sense related to each other, in that they both use similar compiler technologies. FPGA is just mapping to ASIC that is already layed out and manufactured as a programmable array of gates and interconnect. An FPGA saves time from being custom manufactured like an ASIC, at the expense of being slower and having less capacity. So really its very easy to put FPGA and ASIC on the same board. They share many of the same questions.

Another reason why ASIC and FPGA belong on the same stack exchange board, is because anybody that designs an FPGA can go to xilinx or intel and pay them a fee to convert their FPGA design into an ASIC design. All they do is run the compile again using an ASIC library that maps the code into transistors, instead of the FPGA library that maps it into FPGA look up tables.

Second, If I'm bring up the idea of "FPGA" as a stackexchange board again, and i'm acting independently, this is proof that this board shouldn't have been closed down in the first place.

  • 1
    This is more about electronics SE and this proposal. The listed SEs are examples. We can explore this, though. It's true 'Embedded Systems' is much more broad than this and was closed for innactivity. how does that fare for a stack with a smaller scope?
    – tuskiomi
    Jul 13 '21 at 0:01
  • 2
    One person bringing up their own idea again is proof that they're determined and/or stubborn, not that the idea was or is viable.
    – Nij
    Jul 13 '21 at 5:27

Its not a small subset of Electrical Engineering. Its a BIG subset of Electrical Engineering that also overlaps with the field of "Computer Engineering" and is VERY underserved on the Electrical Engineering board. In fact, Electrical Engineering board can't fully serve the FPGA area, and they decide to delete most of the questions as off topic.

Xilinx and Altera vendor support boards are replete with numerous examples of the types of questions that would be better suited to ask on a stack exchange board more directly related to "FPGA and ASIC".... But, would be entirely off topic and easily lost on the Electrical Engineer board.

  • 6
    "[...] and they decide to delete most of the questions as off topic." [citation needed] Where are you getting the impression that these questions are so off-topic there? I see no evidence of your claims nor evidence of you having much if any experience on that site to know about it. We do not create additional sites already well-covered simply because people are passionate about them and want their own space.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 12 '21 at 19:51

Specific Applications of Electronics are too small of a subject to fit the broad subject of "FPGA and ASIC", specifically related to question with regards to how to run these tools and the many cryptic compiler messages that they tend to produce.

"FPGA and ASIC" addresses the technical problems of using the EDA tools related to FPGA and ASIC. There are many examples of the types of questions on the Vendor support boards from Xilinx and Altera for the type of questions that would be great to place on this proposed board to free them from the tyrannical control of the vendors. Personally, I prefer the Q&a System of stack exchange over the support forum of Xilinx and Altera/Intel. stack exchange is more organized and easier to search. Xilinx FPGA support forum is terrible... I would like to see all their users move to stack exchange instead because its many times more productive.

  • 2
    FPGA and ASIC ⊆ Applications of Electronics... this doesn't make sense.
    – tuskiomi
    Jul 12 '21 at 19:33

The board topic suggested was really appropriate as it covered a rather large area of developing, verifying, debugging and manufacturing of physical integrated circuits manufactured in silicon foundries.

FPGA/ASIC work sits at a weird intersection of hardware and software realm. This involves using High level software code(verilog/vhdl/bluespec,chisel etc.) to define physical circuits which is verified on fpgas and then manufactured as asics. As such it never really belonged to electronics board. People have been forced to gamble asking questions on the electronics board simply because they dont find any other appropriate stackexchange board.

With a no of open source initiatives like google skywater efabless shuttle runs, symbiflow, openRoad, openfpga, and various other projects that are aiming to render proprietary vendor tools obsolete stack exchange would have been a proper home to these opensource project queries as they are entirely off-topic on electronics board.

Not to mention the acquisition of arm and unprecedented rise of risc v architecture is only going to increase developer, economic and business interest in the FPGA and ASIC arena from web traffic standpoint.

At present since there is no central fpga/asic stack exchange these questions are asked and answered on reddit, discord and other vendor fourms which dont actually feature very high on search results.

Its ironic that this topic was closed using an ASIC citing flimsy reasoning such as performance/failures of past sites that failed in beta.

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