Skip to Main Content
We have all heard about the increasing software content of embedded systems. To those who think of embedded software as autonomous programs hidden deep within the system, plugging away transparently and reliably on dedicated tasks, this increase might suggest that these programs are somehow becoming larger. In reality, the ongoing increases in processor performance let system designers implement in software what previously required dedicated or custom hardware blocks and accelerators. Indeed, given a choice, system designers might actually prefer the flexibility of implementing all embedded applications in software on programmable processors. However, parts of the applications must often run under critical time, performance, power, and cost constraints. Thus, designers have traditionally mapped these segments into custom hardware, such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), or into reprogrammable fabrics, such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Ever-increasing chip capacities have given rise to configurable processors that offer virtually unlimited choices in core architectures.
Date of Publication: Jan 2003