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Does the Future of High-Level Synthesis Belong to Python?

Premiering on May 20, 2020

The Python programming language continues to grow in popularity and momentum crossing diverse application boundaries such as web development, data science, artificial intelligence, and - thanks to MicroPython and CircuitPython - micro-controller based embedded systems. More and more engineers are adopting this powerful and flexible language putting it to work for intensive processing use cases.

C and C-based derivatives have traditionally served as the primary language used for high-level FPGA synthesis flows. However, Python is a growing presence in this space. A number of small open source projects such as MyHDL, FuPy and others represent grassroots, bottoms-up efforts to foster the Python and FPGA movement. Meanwhile, major players like Xilinx with their PYNQ platform are clearly embracing Python's place in the programmable logic realm.

As Python gets closer and closer to "the metal", it makes sense to consider the language as a potential successor to C, SystemC, or OpenCL as a preferred FPGA design entry language for high-level synthesis (HLS)based development.

This talk will provide a brief tour though Python's evolution in the world of hardware design and attempt to make a case for Python as tomorrow's HLS language of choice.


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