Customizable Embedded Processors: Design Technologies and by Paolo Ienne, Rainer Leupers

By Paolo Ienne, Rainer Leupers

Customizable processors were defined because the subsequent ordinary step within the evolution of the microprocessor company: a step within the lifetime of a brand new know-how the place most sensible functionality on my own isn't any longer adequate to assure marketplace luck. different elements develop into primary, resembling time to marketplace, comfort, strength potency, and straightforwardness of customization.This publication is the 1st to discover comprehensively essentially the most primary tendencies which emerged within the final decade: to regard processors now not as inflexible, mounted entities, which designers contain "as is" of their items; yet relatively, to construct sound methodologies to tailor-fit processors to the explicit wishes of such items. This publication addresses the target of retaining a really huge family members of processors, with a variety of positive aspects, at a price reminiscent of that of protecting a unmarried processor.

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One should note that these approaches are not mutually exclusive: A parameterizable processor may also be extensible—and in fact most are. A template processor in a processor development framework can be easily parameterized and is naturally extended. We group all these approaches under the name of customizable processors. Often, we will also refer to them as application-specific instruction processors, or ASIPs in short, without any major semantic difference. 4 7 PROCESSORS COMING OF AGE Customizable processors have been described as the next natural step in the evolution of the microprocessor business [2]: a step in the life of a new technology, where top performance alone is no longer sufficient to guarantee market success.

One of the earliest industrial attempts to customize processors was the custom-fit processors project in the early 1990s at HP Labs. More than a decade later, a few original customizable processors have been on the market for some years. Also, most widespread licensable embedded-processor cores have been retrofitted with proper interfaces for instruction-set extensions, and the tools have been adapted accordingly. Licences for design-automation tools that can help in the efficient development of application-specific processors can be purchased from leading electronic system-level design tool providers.

The LISATek tool suite was also conceived at ISS. It was commercialized by the start-up LISATek, which was acquired by CoWare in 2003. 12 The LISATek tool suite. are generated in a few seconds by a simple key stroke. This rapid modeling and retargetable simulation and code generation allow us to iteratively perform a joint optimization of application and architecture. In our opinion, this fully automatic closed loop contributes most to the design efficiency. It is important to emphasize that we keep the expert in the loop.

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