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No messing with drivers installing tools and and all the other stuff that you have to do before you can do what you want to do. Nicely documented with low slope paths for people coming from a software background. Probably the very fastest and cheapest way to get your algorithm actually running on an FPGA.
And if it does turn out that your new FPGA is useful, you can make an image deploy it on effectively an infinite number of hardware units with a click of the mouse.
depends on your budget.
I bought a few EP2C5T144C8N mini boards through Amazon for under $20 each but you would also need the $10 'Blaster' programming cable. Look up "RioRand EP2C5T144 Altera Cyclone II FPGA Mini Development Board " on Amazon.(free shipping) just connect to 5 volts.
The Software is free from Altera (now Intel) I use Altera Quartus II 13 sp1
I have several 8 bit microprocessor emulator projects I run in them
A while back, Michaela Blott of Xilinx was the first I know of to do it all, communications and otherwise, to put a KVS onto an FPGA that handled IP requests at line rates up to 10gbps (and they projected they could do 100gbps with one FPGA node.)
I've gotten the C# compiler to give me an internal error. I think I was doing something terrible and unforgivable with generics, admittedly. It has happened intermittently from time to time, but I've only encountered it consistently once.
That's the best I got. I love that you had a contest to confuse the compiler. It's kind of mean though.