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Retargetable compilers can generate assembly code for a variety of different target processor architectures. Owing to their use in the design of application-specific embedded processors, they bridge the gap between the traditionally separate disciplines of compiler construction and electronic design automation. In particular, they assist in architecture exploration for tailoring processors towards a certain application domain. The paper reviews the state-of-the-art in retargetable compilers for embedded processors. Based on some essential compiler background, several representative retargetable compiler systems are discussed, while also outlining their use in iterative, profiling-based architecture exploration. The LISATek C compiler is presented as a detailed case study, and promising areas of future work are proposed.
Computers and Digital Techniques, IEE Proceedings - (Volume:152 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Mar 2005