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FPGA-Field Programmable Gate Array and CPLD-Complex Programmable Logic Device– both are programmable logic devices made by the same companies with different characteristics.
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In recent years, the line between hardware and software has blurred. Hardware now engineers create the bulk of their new digital circuitry in programming languages such as VHDL and Verilog. This article will help you make sense of programmable logic.
A quiet revolution is taking place. Over the past few years, the density of the average programmable logic device has begun to skyrocket. The maximum number of gates in an FPGA is currently around 500,000 and doubling every 18 months. Meanwhile, the price of these chips is dropping. What all of this means is that the price of an individual NAND or NOR is rapidly approaching zero! And the designers of embedded systems are taking note. Some system designers are buying processor cores and incorporating them into system-on-a-chip designs; others are eliminating the processor and software altogether, choosing an alternative hardware-only design.
As this trend continues, it becomes more difficult to separate hardware from software. After all, both hardware and software designers are now describing logic in high-level terms, albeit in different languages, and downloading the compiled result to a piece of silicon. Surely no one would claim that language choice alone marks a real distinction between the two fields. Turing's notion of machine-level equivalence and the existence of language-to-language translators have long ago taught us all that that kind of reasoning is foolish. There are even now products that allow designers to create their hardware designs in traditional programming languages like C. So language differences alone are not enough of a distinction.
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