Programmable Digital Systems Group


We are a creative and energetic research group exploring interesting ideas in the design and synthesis of digital systems, especially in the programmable hardware realm.

research themes

Prof. Anderson's research relates to computer hardware design, and specifically to field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). An FPGA is a programmable computer chip that can be configured by the end-user to implement any digital circuit. As such, FPGAs are much different than traditional chips which are fabricated to perform a specific function. FPGAs are a $5 billion dollar market today, and are used in many applications including networking, automotive, consumer and industrial electronics.

Dr. Anderson's work seeks to improve FPGAs from the area, speed, power and ease-of-use perspectives by innovations in FPGA circuits, architectures and tools. He is also interested in applications of FPGAs, particularly in area and power-constrained settings such as embedded systems. One of the application areas we are pursuing is implementing machine learning algorithms (artificial neural networks) on FPGAs to achieve higher energy effiency than standard processors.

Prof. Anderson's other research interests lie in computer-aided design (CAD) algorithms for integrated circuits, digital design and circuits, computer architecture and software engineering.

LegUp: A large on-going project that aims to automatically compile C programs to processor/accelerator FPGA-based systems. The LegUp project is co-led by Profs. Anderson and Stephen Brown. Currently on its fourth public release, over 4000 researchers around the world have downloaded our high-level synthesis tool! Check out the LegUp website and try it out yourself!

Research Group Wiki


We are attracted to research endeavours that align with three overarching criteria:

Novelty: We seek novel and innovative solutions to real problems, and prefer to be the first to break ground in new fields.

Accessibility: We pursue research that can be used and built-upon by others, that benefits the research community and the broader society, and that has low barriers to its practical application.

Impact: We aspire to produce results that are widely cited by other researchers, and we strive for excellence as recognized by our peers in the research community and in industry.