Actel

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Actel Corporation
Industry Integrated Circuits
Founded 1985
Headquarters Mountain View, CA, USA
Key people John East, CEO & President
Maurice Carson, CFO
Esmat Hamdy, Sr. Vice President, Technology & Operations
Jay Legenhausen, Sr. Vice President, Worldwide Sales
Fares Mubarak, Sr. Vice President, Marketing & Engineering
Products FPGAs, Embedded Processors
Operating income Decrease US$-21.3 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Net income Decrease US$-46.2 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Total assets Decrease US$307 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$233 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees 500+[3]
Parent

Microsemi

revenue = Increase US$191 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Website

www.actel.com

www.microsemi.com

Actel Corporation (formerly NASDAQ:ACTL) (now Microsemi) is a manufacturer of nonvolatile, low-power field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs),[4] mixed-signal FPGAs,[5] and programmable logic solutions.[6][7][8] It is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices worldwide.

History and competition[edit]

Actel became a publicly traded company in 1985 and became known for its high-reliability and antifuse-based FPGAs, dominating the military and aerospace markets.[9]

In 2000, Actel acquired GateField which expanded Actel's antifuse FPGA offering to include flash-based FPGAs. In 2004, Actel announced it had shipped the one-millionth unit of its flash-based ProASICPLUS FPGA.[10]

In 2005, Actel introduced a new technology known as Fusion to bring FPGA programmability to mixed-signal solutions. Fusion was the first technology to integrate mixed-signal analog capabilities with flash memory and FPGA fabric in a monolithic device.[11]

In 2006, to address the tight power budgets of the portable market, Actel introduced the IGLOO FPGA. The IGLOO family of FPGAs was based on Actel's nonvolatile flash technology and the ProASIC 3 FPGA architecture.[12] Two new IGLOO derivatives were added in 2008: IGLOO PLUS FPGAs with enhanced I/O capabilities, and IGLOO nano FPGAs, the industry's lowest power solution at 2 µW. A nano version of ProASIC3 also became available in 2008.

In 2010, Actel introduced the SmartFusion line of FPGAs. SmartFusion includes both analog components and a programmable flash-based logic fabric within the same chip. SmartFusion was the first FPGA product to additionally include a hard ARM processor core.[13]

Altera and Xilinx are the other key players in the market, however their main focus is on SRAM FPGAs. Lattice Semiconductor is another competitor.[14][15]

In November 2010, Actel Corporation was acquired by Microsemi Corporation.[16][17][18]

Technologies[edit]

Actel's portfolio of FPGAs is based on two types of technologies: antifuse-based FPGAs (Axcelerator, SX-A, eX, and MX families) and flash-based FPGAs (Fusion, IGLOO, and ProASIC3 families).

Actel's antifuse FPGAs have been known for their nonvolatility, live at power-up operation[citation needed], single-chip form factor[clarification needed][citation needed], and security[citation needed]. Actel's flash-based FPGA families include these same characteristics[citation needed] and are also reprogrammable and low power.[citation needed]

Actel also develops system-critical FPGAs (RTAX and ProASIC3 families), including extended temperature automotive, military, and aerospace FPGAs, plus a wide variety of space-class radiation-tolerant devices. These flash and antifuse FPGAs have high levels of reliability[citation needed] and firm-error immunity[clarification needed][citation needed].

Controversy[edit]

In March 2012, researchers from Cambridge University discovered that a backdoor exists in the JTAG interface of the ProASIC3 family of low-powered FPGAs. .[19] They defended their theory at a cryptography workshop held in Belgium in September 2012.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Actel (ACTL) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  2. ^ a b Actel (ACTL) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ "Corporate Factsheet" (PDF). Actel Corporation. August 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  4. ^ Dylan McGrath, EETimes. "Actel FPGAs cut power drain to target mobile market." Aug 30, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  5. ^ Paul Buckley, EETimes. "Micrium supports Actel SmartFusion FPGAs." March 8, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  6. ^ EETimes India. "Actel designs IP core for nonvalatile FPGAs." Mar 23, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  7. ^ EETimes Asia. "Seiko Epson goes with Actel FPGAs for multimedia viewers." Dec 10, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  8. ^ EETimes Asia. "Free controller cores roll for Actel FPGAs." Feb 8, 2007. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Andrew Hamm, SJ Business Journal. "The sky's the limit for Actel chips in planned European satellites." August 1, 2003. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  10. ^ Company Release. "Actel Achieves Key Milestone with its Cost-Effective, Flash-Based FPGAs; Company Ships More Than 1 Million Units." March 29, 2004. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  11. ^ EETimes. "Actel Claims To Usher In Era Of 'Programmable System Chip'." July 18, 2005. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  12. ^ Company Release. "Actel Brings Portable Market In from the Cold With Industry's Lowest Power FPGA Family." August 28, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  13. ^ EETimes. "Actel rolls mixed-signal FPGA with hard ARM core." March 2, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  14. ^ Electronics Weekly. "FPGA / PLD." Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  15. ^ John Edwards, EDN. "No room for Second Place." Jun 1, 2006. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  16. ^ Microsemi press release "Microsemi Completes Tender Offer for Actel Corporation"
  17. ^ Mark Lapedus, EE Times. "Microsemi buys Actel for $430 million." Oct 4, 2010. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  18. ^ MELISSA KORN, Wall Street Journal. "Microsemi to Buy Rival Actel for $430 Million." Oct 4, 2010. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013.
  19. ^ Sergei Skorobogatov. "Breakthrough silicon scanning discovers backdoor in military chip"
  20. ^ CHES 2012 "Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems"

External links[edit]