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A large number of embedded multimedia applications are characterized by high instruction-level parallelism (ILP) especially in the most critical internal loop bodies. Very large instruction word (VLIW) architectures and application specific instruction set processors (ASIP) are best suited to exploit such parallelism. Fast design space exploration and optimization of VLIW architectures to a specific application target is increasingly becoming the crucial factor to achieve higher efficiency designs in a relatively small amount of time. In this paper, we propose an example of VLIW architecture application-driven optimization using the VEX ("VLIW Example") system. A typical image processing application, the imaging pipeline, has been chosen as an example.