Wednesday 23rd of November, the results of this autumn's Computer Design Project (TDT4295) were presented. Seven students have collaborated in constructing the Festina Lente computer system. The core of Festina Lente is a custom SIMD-style processor with 12 processing elements which is realized in an FPGA.
The students started without prior knowledge of practical hardware design, but were extremely motivated and worked very hard. The construction took three months with tough deadlines, but all the functionality worked in the end. This is the first time in recent years that everything works according to plan.
The work has consisted of a large number of tasks. For instance, the students have designed the printed circuit board, realized a custom computer architecture in a Xilinx FPGA, developed code for an Atmel microcontroller, integrated hardware and software and made an assembler for the custom processor. The final prototype is able to execute arbitrary programs. The most notable examples are image processing algorithms for edge detection and image sharpening. The students have been invited to demonstrate Festina Lente at the FPGA Forum conference in February.
The students whom constructed Festina Lente were: Sivert Berg, Anders Behne Eie, Matthew Guise, Johan Jansen, Ole Petter Skarre Lund, Simen Natvig, and Lars-Ivar Hesselberg Simonsen. The students have been supervised by Magnus Jahre (coordinator) and Konstantinos Antonakopoulos. Gunnar Tufte aided with his PCB and FPGA experience.