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Question about Op Amps, FPGA, or Programmable Neural Networks

Robo_Pi

Oct 5, 2015
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Hello, this is my first post here and I haven't posted an introduction yet, so allow me to just briefly say that I have quite a bit of knowledge of electronics, However, I have been retired from the field for quite a few years and I haven't kept up with the latest technologies. So my question here is about the availability of a specific technology that may or may not have even been invented yet.

What I am looking for is something akin to an FPGA chip but contains a field of programmable Op Amps instead of just gates. What I have envisioned in my mind is a single large chip, very similar to a standard FPGA, still containing logic gate type of connections, but also containing programmable Operational Amplifiers that can be programmed for analog signal gain.

The reason I'm looking for this is because I've recently become interested in artificial neural networks. These are mostly programmed on a digital computers as simulations. These programs actually simulate a neural network with back propagation until the network "learns" a specific task. That's all well and good. However, after that neural network has learned a specific task I would like to then build the actual final result as a hardwired network. This would need to be done with an array of op amps. It could actually be constructed using discrete op amps on chips and connecting them all together as required. But then I thought how easy this would be if it could be done with something like an FPGA, only instead of just having digital gate logic it would also contain the analog feedback provided by op amps.

So that's the long and short of it.

Is there such a thing as a FPOA? <------- I just made that acronym up. It would basically be a "Field Programmable Op-amp Array".

Or perhaps they already have some sort of programmable neural networks?

I'm simply not aware of what's available today.

Thanks.
 

Harald Kapp

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Nov 17, 2011
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Welcome to electronicspoint.

I'm sorry to say that your idea is not new. A commercial product is the ispPAC series from Lattice semiconductor.
 

AnalogKid

Jun 10, 2015
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Motorola had programmable analog devices in the 80's, and other companies followed. The two names that come to mind are Lattice (mentioned above) and Microchip.

ak
 

Robo_Pi

Oct 5, 2015
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This is great. I'm not looking to be the inventor of this device. I'm quite happy they already exist. I'd like to get my hands on one and program it.

There are many inexpensive development boards for FPGA chips like the following:

Altera Cyclone II FPGA Mini Development Board

51PEHhcwwbL._SX425_.jpg


Spartan 3A FPGA Development Board

51gHFD-RNCL._SX425_.jpg


Both of these are quite inexpensive at only $25 to $35.

Does anyone make a similar inexpensive development board for these analog lattice devices? The chip isn't going to do me any good unless I can program it myself. And the cost of development needs to be low (similar to the cost of the FPGA and CPLD development boards above).

I just now did a quick search for ispPAC development boards and didn't find anything. All I can find is FPGA and CPLD development boards.
 
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