The future will be heterogenous
CPU and GPU have their distinct advantages handling compute problems. It is clear that good solutions will include both of these hardware types. But it is required to have good integrated programming tools to make the most out of the software. These tools are available as open source.
It is clear that in the future, FPGAs will be added as a hardware capability to this mix. Propriety toolset are very hard to integrate with the ecosystem of software tools.
Having an open Source FPGA toolchain is a first step to a time where CPU, GPU and FPGA can be seamlessly programmed within one IDE.
We are opensource fans. There will be a time after the Neumann architecture. We consider FPGAs as a flexible powerfull tool which might be a path into the future of computing. FPGAs might play a role in this challenge. But we currenlty do not have any tools to go down this path. icoBOARD with its toolchain is the first step on this journey.
Innovation consists of co-evolution of all components of the full stack (chips, boards, algorithms, tools, applications). Having one company holding a monopoly over one of the lower part of the stack holds back this co-evolution.
Innovators require flexible tools
Without documented Intel 386, there would have been no GCC, and without GCC, there would have been no Linux, and without Linux, there would be no google and no Facebook. We want to enable people to play with FPGAs, as most people think that this class of devices do have great capability, but dont show it.
Innovators need the possibility to use the devices in a way originally not imagined by the makers of the propriety tools, or simply not a valid business case, like buidling a cluster out of 16 Intel 486 with an ethernet switch, which started the cluster supercomputer revolution. Having only Windows NT, this would have been simple impossible.
We want to enable creative people to realize the almost impossible.
What market do propriety FPGA tool manufacturers address?