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field-programmable gate array (FPGA)

A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit (IC) that can be programmed in the field after manufacture. FPGAs are similar in principle to, but have vastly wider potential application than, programmable read-only memory (PROM) chips. FPGAs are used by engineers in the design of specialized ICs that can later be produced hard-wired in large quantities for distribution to computer manufacturers and end users. Ultimately, FPGAs might allow computer users to tailor microprocessors to meet their own individual needs.

This was last updated in September 2005

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