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Control dominated embedded systems have to be designed for fast reaction to asynchronous external events occurring in the environment. Such systems must be able to perform signal emission, signal polling, preemption and priority resolution efficiently. Current microprocessors and microcontrollers, however, have no direct support for such tasks and employ indirect mechanisms such as polling (via a port) and interrupts. In this paper, we propose a new processor core having architectural support for reactivity at the instruction level. The new processor core (called REFLIX) is an extension of an existing open source processor (FLIX) core with additional instructions to support reactivity. Initial benchmarking results (for some control dominated programs) show that REFLIX performs, on an average, 5.92 times faster compared to FLIX and has 77% code size reduction when compared to some conventional processors.
Date of Conference: 4-8 Jan. 2003