Can using the sea-of-processors approach to address the programmable logic market work? Naturally, John Daane, CEO of programmable logic pioneer Altera, doesn’t think it can.
“The challenge is how to programme it”, says Daane, “it’s the same challenge as Intel has in programming multi-core. The world doesn’t know how to do it. There’s no software that can divide tasks between cores. The multi-processor approach is limited by the software programmers who can’t take advantage of more than one processor core.”
Daane sees the efforts of start-ups to get into the programmable logic industry as ‘flattering’ but doomed.
“It’s flattering that companies want to get into our space”, he says, “it’s a high growth, profitable market and there’s not many of them in existence. “But new companies don’t just need an architecture, they need EDA tools and IP cores.”
“There’s been $1bn of VC money invested in FPGA in the last 15 years and $750m of that has already gone out of business,” he says.
Also, Daane pointed out, a difficulty for new companies trying to get into the area is that systems companies are cutting down on their vendor supply lists to provide more efficient, less costly, procurement procedures.