Actel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Actel Corporation
Industry Integrated Circuits
Successor

Microsemi

revenue = Increase US$191 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Founded 1985
Key people
location = San Jose, CA, United States
Products FPGAs, Embedded Processors
Decrease US$-21.3 Million (FY 2009)[1]
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]
Number of employees
500+[3]
Website

www.actel.com

www.microsemi.com

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

Actel Corporation has been acquired by Microsemi.

History and competition[edit]

Actel was founded in 1985 and became known for its high-reliability and antifuse-based FPGAs, used in 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, a low 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.[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. [permanent dead link]
  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 Archived August 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.." 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 Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.." 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 Archived March 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine."
  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]