Versal Card Streamlines AI FPGA ACAP Development

Xilinx took out his VCK5000 Versal Development Board for AI Inference (Fig.1) which works with the company’s Vitis development software. I’ve included the Xilinx video as it does a very good job providing an overview of the Vitis workflow. Although Vitis greatly reduces development complexity, it still involves a number of tools and steps to create an application that will run on hardware.

The VCK5000 uses the Xilinx VC1902 Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP), which combines an FPGA, system-on-chip (SoC) processor complex, and hardware acceleration. (Fig.2). The entire ACAP family is supported by Vitis, allowing the migration of applications between chips with different characteristics.

The magic of Vitis is the ability to combine software into a hardware and software combination that can run on Versal chips (Fig.3). Vitis includes a number of open source tools and platforms, including components such as Linux, C/C++ compilers, and machine learning frameworks. Xilinx has made the components work with its other ACAP/FPGA support tools so developers can focus on applications and algorithms.

Versal ACAPs are also available on other Xilinx and third-party FPGA boards and modules. The latter is a convenient way to deploy applications developed on the new card.

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