Electronics > FPGA

FPGA to accelerate fractal calculations

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I recently became friends with someone who is really into fractal art. I used Fraqtive to make videos she really likes, the problem is that the rendering takes a long time, many hours for a 1 minute video.

Would it be even remotely practical to accelerate the fractal rendering process with a hobbyist FPGA like an Artix-7 200? Or would a faster CPU or GPU be the way to go? Keep in mind that energy efficiency is a big factor, which FPGAs excel at for certain tasks.

I would probably go for a GPU-assisted rendering here. But that's significant work involving knowing CUDA or similar.

As far as I've seen, Fraqtive does nothing like that. It only uses CPU and OpenGL - the GPU is not involved in computing the fractals themselves, so a faster GPU would do absolutely nothing here without rewriting the code entirely. At least that's what I've gotten from Fraqtive, I may have missed something.



The way even a rather old FPGA was over an order of magnitude faster than a PC at the time shows a lot of promise for a much more modern FPGA like the Artix-7 200 I have. But I'm expecting that the programming would be quite a project.

But since the source code is given for various boards, it should be quite easy to replicate the project.  In fact, the .bit file is provided for some boards; just program the device and you should be ready to go.  There would be the issue of replicating the Baseboard components like the ADC.  I'm not sure if the FPGA board is available but the Baseboard might be; I found a price...

I'm not sure that the logic changes between boards but the constraints file defining the pinout certainly would.


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