On the heels of similar shutdowns last year of Mathstar and Ambric, the news broke earlier this month that reconfigurable device startup CSwitch has now shut down, the apparent victim of still-frozen capital markets.
This is unfortunate, a setback for reconfigurable computing overall. But it’s not surprising given the history of new and exotic reconfigurable devices. I still believe that, somewhere out there, there is a reconfigurable device architecture that can find its market. But as I’ve opined before, such a device needs to be programmable using higher-level methods, using established software or hardware programming languages. If I were starting a programmable device company – which I wouldn’t, by the way, because I’m not rich enough, smart enough, or maybe not dumb enough – I would start with a target application first, then decide how to program that application. And then… only then… I would have some very smart people design a programmable hardware device and a set of design tools and libraries that are optimized for that application, and that support that programming method.
There is a very good series of articles covering this topic in EE Times: See FPGA Startup Crunch.