>> Sunday, March 29, 2015
Edit: As of 4/9, it looks like the Intel-Altera buyout discussions have come to a halt.
There's been no official word, but reputable sources are reporting that Intel is taking steps to buy Altera. In all likelihood, this is related to Intel's plan to integrate FPGA fabric into their upcoming Xeon processors. I've discussed this before (here and here).
I'll be surprised if Intel allows developers to access the FPGA fabric with traditional design languages like VHDL or Verilog. It would be safer to provide access through OpenCL kernels. That is, a design based on a simple procedure wouldn't be as susceptible to low-level issues like race conditions or clock skew. Still, current FPGA design tools are expensive (especially Altera's) and it can take hours to convert any type of design to an FPGA bitstream.
I'm particularly curious whether Intel will allow partial reconfiguration of the FPGA fabric. A long time ago, I worked on a DARPA project to implement cognitive modeling with FPGAs, and I became fascinated with the field of reconfigurable computing. Personally, I think hard artificial intelligence will only become realizable when devices are capable of rewiring their internal circuitry.