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  >> The tricky bit on these systems is how much effort/time it takes 
  >> to move data and context between the "main" CPU and the FPGA and then back again 
The sweet spot for FPGAs is when the data is streaming. You can build hardware where the data is passed from one stage to another, and doesn't go to RAM at all. Particularly where the data is coming in fast, but with low resolution (huge FPGA advantage for fixed point instead of floating point).

FGPAs are much more efficient for signal processing from data collected from an A/D converter (e.g. software defined radio) or initial video processing from an image sensor.




> The sweet spot for FPGAs is when the data is streaming

Netezza does this with their hardware, I've been dreaming of the day I could DIY and put a OSS RDBMS on top.




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