Introduction to LabVIEWTM FPGA for RF, Radar and Electronic Warfare Applications
Terry Stratoudakis

Working in a high-technology field, we’re accustomed to novelty. New materials, new techniques, new software; whether we seek contributions to the scientific record or better products, we’re hungry for something ground-breaking. However, sometimes we miss what already exists; novelty doesn’t have to be new science, merely science new to us.

Stratoudakis makes a solid argument that FPGAs—easily reconfigurable integrated circuits—can be just that to microwave engineers. Accessible to a wide audience, his new book not only explains the concepts to program an FPGA using block diagrams with LabVIEW, it also explains why you would want to do so. In a word, latency. Both for the design cycle—programming an FPGA with a graphical tool should require well less investment than an ASIC—and for circuit delay; for the multitude of RF and microwave sensor applications out there,
FPGAs offer a much-needed determinism that conventional CPUs cannot manage.

So, this isn’t a book for memorizing, it’s a book for accomplishing. Already know a bit about FPGAs and LabView? No problem, skip the introductions and there’s plenty of detail and many interesting references to explore. It also reviews many examples, citing an example browser as well as an online code repository. Without built-in questions and assignments, these seem to be geared for launching practical projects more than textbook use.

While Stratoudakis does spend time discussing other methods for programming FPGAs, the titular LabView is clearly his favorite. He’s quite passionate about it, so much so that on occasion the book toes the line with promotion. I will note that someone with a strong background in digital design or computer science may prefer a text-based method like Verilog, however it is still a cogent argument that the microwave field can benefit from the shorter learning curve of LabView’s graphical environment. In fact, given the hardware nature of FPGAs, I came out of this book seeing programming in LabView as a natural extension of design—we increase the order of layouts with schematics, so why not increase the order of schematics with block diagrams?

In summary, this is a well thought-out, clear and concise book that makes a strong case to use LabView to program FPGAs for microwaves design and research. Anyone curious about doing so will thoroughly enjoy this book, and anyone who intends to will absolutely love it. 4.5/5.

Review by: Brian Rautio

ISBN: 9781630817930 • 270 pp

Copyright: 2020

eBook: $104

Hardcover: $139

To order this book, contact:
Artech House
685 Canton St.
Norwood, MA 02062
16 Sussex St.
London, SW1V 4RW, UK
+44 (0)20 7596 8750