There are numerous requests in Internet forums that go something like this: "I am new to using FPGAs. What are they? How do I start? Is there a tutorial and some cheap/free tools I can use to learn more?" The short answer is “Yes”. The long answer is this book. It will briefly describe FPGAs and then show you how to apply them to your problems using a low-cost board and some free software. My discussion will be oriented towards using Xilinx FPGAs, but most of what I'll say is applicable to other brands of FPGAs.