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Xilinx, Inc.
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
IndustryIntegrated Circuits
Founded1984; 34 years ago (1984)[1]
FounderJim Barnett
Ross Freeman
Bernie Vonderschmitt
HeadquartersSan Jose, California, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Dennis Segers (Chairman of the Board); Victor Peng (President, CEO); Lorenzo A. Flores (Executive Vice President, CFO); Ivo Bolsens (Senior Vice President, CTO); Kevin Cooney (Senior Vice President, CIO); Emre Onder (Senior Vice President, Corporate strategy and marketing); Catia Hagopian (Senior Vice President, General counsel); Vincent L. Tong (Executive Vice President, Global operations and quality); Liam Madden (Executive Vice President, Hardware and systems product development); Matt Poirirer (Senior Vice President, Corporate development and investor relations); Salil Raje (Executive Vice President, Software and IP products); Marilyn Stiborek Meyer (Senior Vice President, Global human resources); Mark Wadlington (Senior Vice President, Global sales);.
ProductsFPGAs, CPLDs
  • Increase US$ 2.349 billion (2017) [2]
  • Decrease US$ 2.213 billion (2016)[2]
  • Decrease US$ 699.394 million (2017) [2]
  • Decrease US$ 669.881 million (2016)[2]
  • Increase US$ 622.512 million (2017) [2]
  • Decrease US$ 550.867 million (2016)[2]
Total assets
  • Decrease US$ 4.740 billion (2017) [2]
  • Decrease US$ 4.819 billion (2016)[2]
Total equity
  • Decrease US$ 2.507 billion (2017) [2]
  • Decrease US$ 2.589 billion (2016)[2]
Number of employees
3,800 - (April 2017)

Xilinx, Inc. (/ˈzlɪŋks/ ZY-links) is an American technology company, primarily a supplier of programmable logic devices. It is known as the semiconductor company that invented the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and created the first fabless manufacturing model.[3][4][5]

Ross Freeman, Bernard Vonderschmitt, and James V Barnett II, former employees of Zilog, an integrated circuit and solid-state device manufacturer, co-founded Xilinx in 1984 with headquarters in San Jose, USA.[6][7]


Early history

While working for Zilog, Freeman wanted to create chips that acted like a blank tape, allowing users to program the technology themselves. At the time, the concept was paradigm changing.[7] Xilinx 8th employee Bill Carter, hired in 1984 as the first IC designer suggested that this concept required many precious transistors.[7]

Big semiconductor manufacturers made profits with significant volumes of generic circuits.[6] Designing and manufacturing dozens of different circuits for specific markets offered lower profit margins and required greater manufacturing complexity.[6] What became known as the FPGA would allow circuits produced in quantity to be tailored by individual market segments.

Freeman failed to convince Zilog to invest in creating the FPGA to chase what was only a $100 million market at the time.[6] Freeman and Barnett left Zilog and teamed up with their 60-year-old ex-colleague Bernard Vonderschmitt to raise $4.5 million in venture funding to design the first commercially viable FPGA.[6] They incorporated the company in 1984 and began selling its first product by 1985.[6]

By late 1987 the company had raised more than $18 million in venture capital (equivalent to $38.84 million in 2017) and generated revenues at an annualized rate of nearly $14 million.[6][8]


Demand for programmable logic increased together with Xilinx's revenues and profits.[6] During this time period, Xilinx funder, Monolithic Memories Inc. (MMI), was purchased by Xilinx competitor AMD.[6] As a result, Xilinx dissolved the deal with MMI and went public on the NASDAQ in 1989.[6] The company also moved to a 144,000-square-foot (13,400 m2) plant in San Jose, California in order to keep pace with demand from companies like HP, Apple Inc., IBM and Sun Microsystems who were buying large quantities from Xilinx.[6]

Over a decade of existence, Xilinx emerged as a major FPGA market in the 1990s according to the research firm iSuppli and expanded its operations to India, Asia and Europe.[9][10][11][12]

Moshe Gavrielov – an EDA and ASIC industry veteran who was appointed as president and CEO in early 2008 – introduced targeted design platforms that combine FPGAs with software, IP cores, boards and kits to address focused target applications.[13] These targeted design platforms are an alternative to costly application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASSPs).[14][15][16].

On January 4, 2018 Victor Peng, company's COO, replaced Gavrielov in the role of CEO[17].

Recent history

Xilinx's line of products expanded to a broad range of FPGAs, complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs), design tools, intellectual property and reference designs.[3] Xilinx also has a global services and training program.[3]

In 2011, Xilinx introduced the Virtex-7 2000T, the first product based on 2.5D stacked silicon (based on silicon interposer technology) to deliver larger FPGAs than could be built using standard monolithic silicon[18]. Xilinx then adapted the technology to combine formerly separate components in a single chip, first combining an FPGA with transceivers based on heterogeneous process technology with more bandwidth and less power.[19].

According to former Xilinx CEO Moshe Gavrielov, the addition of a heterogeneous communications device, combined with the introduction of new software tools and the Zynq-7000 line of 28 nm SoC devices (ARM core with an FPGA), were part of the company new strategy. It is about shifting its position from a programmable logic device supplier to one delivering “all things programmable”.[20]

In addition to Zynq-7000, Xilinx product lines (see Current Family Lines) include the Virtex, Kintex and Artix series, each including configurations and models optimized for different applications.[21] With the introduction of the Xilinx 7 series in June, 2010, the company has moved to three major FPGA product families, the high-end Virtex, the mid-range Kintex family and the low-cost Artix family, retiring the Spartan brand, which ends with the Xilinx Series 6 FPGAs.[22][23] In April 2012, the company introduced the Vivado Design Suite - a next-generation SoC-strength design environment for advanced electronic system designs.[24] In May, 2014, the company shipped the first of the next generation FPGAs: the 20 nm UltraScale.[25]

In September 2017, and Xilinx started a campaign for FPGA adoption. This campaign enables AWS Marketplace’s Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with associated Amazon FPGA Instances created by partners. The two companies have released new software development tools to simplify the creation of the acceleration IP. AWS has built the tools to create and manage the machine images created and sold by partners.[26][27]

Company overview

Xilinx was founded in Silicon Valley in 1984 and headquartered in San Jose, USA, with additional offices in Longmont, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Hyderabad, India; Beijing, China; Shanghai, China; Brisbane, Australia and Tokyo, Japan.[6][28]

According to Bill Carter, a fellow at Xilinx, the choice of the name Xilinx refers to the chemical symbol for silicon Si. The 'X's at each end represent programmable logic blocks. The "linx" represents programmable links that connect the logic blocks together.[7] As a result, this unique name was easier to register and met no objection.

Xilinx customers represent just over half of the entire programmable logic market, at 51%.[3][4][29] Altera (now Intel ) is Xilinx's strongest competitor with 34% of the market. Other key players in this market are Actel (now Microsemi), and Lattice Semiconductor.[5]


The Spartan-3 platform was the industry’s first 90nm FPGA, delivering more functionality and bandwidth per dollar than was previously possible, setting new standards in the programmable logic industry.

Xilinx designs, develops and markets programmable logic products, including integrated circuits (ICs), software design tools, predefined system functions delivered as intellectual property (IP) cores, design services, customer training, field engineering and technical support.[3] Xilinx sells both FPGAs and CPLDs for electronic equipment manufacturers in end markets such as communications, industrial, consumer, automotive and data processing.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36]

Xilinx's FPGAs have been used for the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) at the CERN European laboratory on the French-Swiss border to map and disentangle the trajectories of thousands of subatomic particles.[37] Xilinx has also engaged in a partnership with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate to develop FPGAs to withstand the damaging effects of radiation in space, which are 1,000 times less sensitive to space radiation than the commercial equivalent, for deployment in new satellites.[38]

The Virtex-II Pro, Virtex-4, Virtex-5, and Virtex-6 FPGA families, which include up to two embedded IBM PowerPC cores, are targeted to the needs of system-on-chip (SoC) designers.[39][40][41]

Xilinx FPGAs can run a regular embedded OS (such as Linux or vxWorks) and can implement processor peripherals in programmable logic.[3]

Xilinx's IP cores include IP for simple functions (BCD encoders, counters, etc.), for domain specific cores (digital signal processing, FFT and FIR cores) to complex systems (multi-gigabit networking cores, the MicroBlaze soft microprocessor and the compact Picoblaze microcontroller).[3] Xilinx also creates custom cores for a fee.

The main design toolkit Xilinx provides engineers is the Vivado Design Suite, an integrated design environment (IDE) with a system-to-IC level tools built on a shared scalable data model and a common debug environment. Vivado includes electronic system level (ESL) design tools for synthesizing and verifying C-based algorithmic IP; standards based packaging of both algorithmic and RTL IP for reuse; standards based IP stitching and systems integration of all types of system building blocks; and the verification of blocks and systems.[42] A free version WebPACK Edition of Vivado provides designers with a limited version of the design environment.[43]

Xilinx's Embedded Developer's Kit (EDK) supports the embedded PowerPC 405 and 440 cores (in Virtex-II Pro and some Virtex-4 and -5 chips) and the Microblaze core. Xilinx's System Generator for DSP implements DSP designs on Xilinx FPGAs. A freeware version of its EDA software called ISE WebPACK is used with some of its non-high-performance chips. Xilinx is the only (as of 2007) FPGA vendor to distribute a native Linux freeware synthesis toolchain.[44]

Xilinx announced the architecture for a new ARM Cortex-A9-based platform for embedded systems designers, that combines the software programmability of an embedded processor with the hardware flexibility of an FPGA.[45][46][47][48] The new architecture abstracts much of the hardware burden away from the embedded software developers' point of view, giving them an unprecedented level of control in the development process.[45][46][47][48] With this platform, software developers can leverage their existing system code based on ARM technology and utilize vast off-the-shelf open-source and commercially available software component libraries.[45][46][47][48] Because the system boots an OS at reset, software development can get under way quickly within familiar development and debug environments using tools such as ARM's RealView development suite and related third-party tools, Eclipse-based IDEs, GNU, the Xilinx Software Development Kit and others.[45][46][47][48] In early 2011, Xilinx began shipping a new device family based on this architecture. The Zynq-7000 SoC platform immerses ARM multi-cores, programmable logic fabric, DSP data paths, memories and I/O functions in a dense and configurable mesh of interconnect.[49][50] The platform targets embedded designers working on market applications that require multi-functionality and real-time responsiveness, such as automotive driver assistance, intelligent video surveillance, industrial automation, aerospace and defense, and next-generation wireless.[45][46][47][48]

Following the introduction of its 28 nm 7-series FPGAs, Xilinx revealed that several of the highest-density parts in those FPGA product lines will be constructed using multiple dies in one package, employing technology developed for 3D construction and stacked-die assemblies.[51][52] The company’s stacked silicon interconnect (SSI) technology stacks several (three or four) active FPGA dies side-by-side on a silicon interposer – a single piece of silicon that carries passive interconnect. The individual FPGA dies are conventional, and are flip-chip mounted by microbumps on to the interposer. The interposer provides direct interconnect between the FPGA dies, with no need for transceiver technologies such as high-speed SERDES.[51][52][53] In October 2011, Xilinx shipped the first FPGA to use the new technology, the Virtex-7 2000T FPGA, which includes 6.8 billion transistors and 20 million ASIC gates.[54][55][56][57] The following spring, Xilinx used 3D technology to ship the Virtex-7 HT, the industry’s first heterogeneous FPGAs, which combine high bandwidth FPGAs with a maximum of sixteen 28 Gbit/s and seventy-two 13.1 Gbit/s transceivers to reduce power and size requirements for key Nx100G and 400G line card applications and functions.[58][59]

In January 2011, Xilinx acquired design tool firm AutoESL Design Technologies and added System C high-level design for its 6- and 7-series FPGA families.[60] The addition of AutoESL tools extends the design community for FPGAs to designers more accustomed to designing at a higher level of abstraction using C, C++ and System C.[61]

In April 2012, Xilinx introduced a revised version of its toolset for programmable systems, called Vivado Design Suite. This IP and system-centric design software supports newer high capacity devices, and speeds the design of programmable logic and I/O.[62] Vivado provides faster integration and implementation for programmable systems into devices with 3D stacked silicon interconnect technology, ARM processing systems, analog mixed signal (AMS), and many semiconductor intellectual property (IP) cores.[63]

Xilinx began his journey with the Reconfigurable Acceleration Stack technology in the late 2016. The company was providing software and IP blocks to accelerate Machine Learning and other datacenter apps. Xilinx's goal was to reduce the barriers to adoption of FPGAs for accelerated compute-intensive datacenter workloads.[64]

Family lines of products

CPLD Xilinx XC9536XL

Prior to 2010, Xilinx offered two main FPGA families: the high-performance Virtex series and the high-volume Spartan series, with a cheaper EasyPath option for ramping to volume production.[21] The company also provides two CPLD lines: the CoolRunner and the 9500 series. Each model series has been released in multiple generations since its launch.[65]

Xilinx 3S250, Spartan-3E FPGA Family

The Spartan series targets low cost, high-volume applications with a low-power footprint e.g. displays, set-top boxes, wireless routers and other applications.[66]

With the introduction of its 28 nm FPGAs in June 2010, Xilinx replaced the high-volume Spartan family with the Kintex family and the low-cost Artix family.[22][23]

The Kintex-7 family is the first Xilinx mid-range FPGA family that the company claims delivers Virtex-6 family performance at less than half the price while consuming 50 percent less power.

The Artix-7 family delivers 50 percent lower power and 35 percent lower cost compared to the Spartan-6 family and is based on the unified Virtex-series architecture.

The Zynq-7000 family of SoCs addresses high-end embedded-system applications, such as video surveillance, automotive-driver assistance, next-generation wireless, and factory automation.[49][50][67]

The Versal platform, initially known as Everest, is Xilinx's 7nm generation architecture that targets datacenter acceleration applications, emerging fields and traditional markets.[68] Versal focuses on the Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP), a new product category with better capabilities than an FPGA. It is an adaptive and integrated multi-core heterogeneous compute platform configurable at the hardware level. [69]

In newer FPGA products, Xilinx minimizes total power consumption by the adoption of a High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process, which allows for low static power consumption. At the 28 nm node, static power is a significant portion of the total power dissipation of a device and in some cases is the dominant factor. Through the use of a HKMG process, Xilinx has reduced power use while increasing logic capacity.[70] Virtex-6 and Spartan-6 FPGA families are said to consume 50 percent less power, and have up to twice the logic capacity compared to the previous generation of Xilinx FPGAs.[40][71][72]

In October 2018, Xilinx launched Alveo, a set of accelerator cards designed to improve performance on the cloud and data centers. The technology is supported by partners who develop AI, video transcoding, data analytics, modeling, security and genomics.[73][74][75]

Xilinx RFSoC family devices integrates GSPS ADCs and DACs with a Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC made of 16 nm FinFET CMOS. It aims to save power and space by integrating many functions including high-speed ADCs and DACs with programmable logic and other ‘hard’ function blocks. [76][77]


Xilinx joined the Fortune ranks of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2001 as No. 14, rose to No. 6 in 2002 and rose again to No. 4 in 2003.[78]

In December 2008, Xilinx was named by GSA the Most Respected Public Semiconductor Company. The award recognizes excellence through success, vision and strategy in the industry.[79]

In 2010, the company's products have been recognized by EE Times, EDN and others for innovation and market impact.[80][81][82]

See also


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External links