Getting Started with FPGAs

Getting Started with FPGAs

by Russell Merrick
July 2023, 240 pp.
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FPGAs are reprogrammable integrated circuits used in everything from hardware hacking and hobbyist electronics to aerospace engineering, video processing, and high-frequency stock trading. They’re fast, powerful, and incredibly flexible, but they have a notoriously steep bar of entry. Getting Started with FPGAs lowers that bar, providing a straightforward introduction to working with FPGAs, without unnecessary jargon or complexity.

The book explores FPGAs from the bottom up, starting with a look at the basics of digital logic and the fundamental components that make up FPGAs: look-up tables and flip-flops. Understanding how these components work together is critical to thinking like an FPGA designer. As the chapters progress, readers will learn how to master higher-level FPGA concepts like state machines and crossing clock domains, while working on increasingly sophisticated hands-on projects. Loaded with thoroughly annotated, downloadable code examples in both Verilog and VHDL—the two most popular FPGA programming languages—readers will come away with the confidence and experience to pursue their own FPGA projects.

Author Bio 

Russell Merrick is the creator of the popular FPGA blog,, and accompanying YouTube channel. He has worked on many FPGA designs at Accion Systems, as well as at BAE Systems and L-3 Communications. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: Meet the FPGA
Chapter 2: Setting Up Your Hardware and Tools
Chapter 3: Boolean Algebra and the Look-Up Table
Chapter 4: Storing State with the Flip-Flop
Chapter 5: Testing Your Code with Simulation
Chapter 6: Common FPGA Modules

Chapter 7: Synthesis, Place and Route, and Crossing Clock Domains
Chapter 8: The State Machine
Chapter 9: Useful FPGA Primitives
Chapter 10: Numbers and Math
Chapter 11: Getting Data In and Out with I/O and SerDes
Appendix A: FPGA Development Boards
Appendix B: Tips for Starting an FPGA Engineering Career

The chapters in red are included in this Early Access PDF.