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Published on October 29th, 2018 | by Júlio Ventura

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A Quick Introduction To FPGA Programming For Teens

It is very common today for young people to become interested in professions revolving around computers. As technology continues to advance, they will want to find something that will allow them to have a job which will last long into the future. Additionally, if they are already adept at working with PCs, they may want to consider building one. This typically starts with some type of a kit, allowing them to subsequently take classes, and later become employed, working with robotics and component mass production. One of the best ways to introduce a teenager to this world of computer technology is to teach them about FPGAs. This is a quick overview and introduction to what FPGA programming is and how teens can benefit from this type of instruction.

An Overview Of FPGAs Today

FPGAs were invented back in the 1980s by Xilinx, one of the leaders in this industry today. They decided to create these gate arrays which were programmable. That is why they are referred to as field programmable gate arrays. You are able to program them to perform certain functions. This is how many of the activities within a computer are executed so that software programs can function. Without FPGAs, computers would have a much more difficult time performing in a certain way. Despite how complex they are, especially up the smaller levels, it’s actually very easy to understand how they work.

How FPGAs Work

A field programmable gate array can be programmed by manipulating certain gates called the blocks within the gate array itself. These are input output blocks, ones that interact with programmable logic devices and programmable read only memory units. By organizing them in certain ways, it will act in a certain way, allowing it to perform particular functions. From a basic standpoint, these are going to work directly with integrated circuits, and ultimately interact with computer software. They come in many different styles including those built with symmetrical arrays, rows of arrays, and transmission gates. When you are working with a larger FPGA kit, you can see the inner mechanisms up close, providing the best idea of how they work when the teenager ultimately takes a class on microelectronics.

How Many Companies Produce FPGAs Today?

There are two main companies that produce a large majority of field programmable gate arrays. This includes Xilinx and Intel. They each have their own series of FPGAs that they have made. They differ in size, capabilities, and price. Although this information about how field programmable gate arrays work is merely an introduction, if they become competent at this, or show interest, they may eventually work for one of these businesses. These are great companies to become part of, but before they go in that direction, it would be good to introduce them to classes on this topic.

How To Find Classes On Field Programmable Gate Arrays

A teenager will be able to take classes online that will introduce them to this topic. They will learn more about the different types of FPGAs. There are hierarchical PLDs, those that are SRAM based, and Antifuse-based FPGAs that cannot be reprogrammed once they are set. Once they have gone through this information, teenagers will have a better understanding of how they work. It will also help them determine if they are interested in this type of technology or not. Some of them may be more interested in the software aspect of computers. However, for those that like the physical components of PCs, FPGAs might be what they would like to learn more about.

What Else Will They Learn About FPGAs

Some of the information that will be provided will include info on how much power consumption will occur. They will learn about dynamic, static, and input output power. All of this is necessary when designing different ones for certain systems. They will also learn about the different industries that absolutely need to use field programmable gate arrays. This might lead them toward one of these professions. These industries include automotive, aerospace, and the computer industry where these are used on a consistent basis.

How Long Will It Take Them To Go Through A Basic Course?

Depending upon the load of classes that your student is currently taking, they could probably handle these easy courses on the weekend. The closer that they move toward graduating from high school, the more imperative it is to at least introduce them to these concepts. If you have one or more teenagers that are addicted to video games, this might be a way to distract them. They are already interested in PCs and tablet computers, and this would be the perfect segue to present FPGAs available from Directics.com and what could possibly be an interest that could become a profession.

Field programmable gate arrays have changed significantly over the decades. The very large and simplistic FPGAs made by Xilinx years ago have been modified in substantial ways. Today, it’s very easy to find information on how they work online, as well as take courses. They are designed for the beginner, something that a teenager would be able to easily understand in a short period of time. For parents that would like to introduce FPGAs to their teenager, this might be the best way to do so. We live in a world that is focused on the advancement of technology, and by focusing on this area, this could lead to a very lucrative profession in their future.

 

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About the Author

Júlio Ventura

Digital Marketer, Webmaster, Writer, and Tech Enthusiast. Undergraduate in Translation from Faculty of Letters in Lisbon, Portugal. Postgraduate in Digital Marketing from Lusofona University in Lisbon. On a quest for further knowledge.



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