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Embedded-system design plays catch-up

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1 Author(s)
Napper, S. ; Aisys Inc., Santa Clara, LA, USA

Embedded systems are becoming more prevalent, controlling systems from microwave ovens to the Mars Rover. They are also more complex, in part because of the availability of low-cost 32- and 64-bit processors. Companies sold 180 million 32- and 64-bit embedded processors in 1997-a 50% increase over the number sold in 1996. Embedded processors outsold general-purpose processors (the type in PCs) by 2 to 1 in 1997. Despite this rapid change, the design process lags behind: embedded system design is largely the same as it was 20 years ago, when 8-bit microcontrollers were the state of the art. The much heralded explosion of consumer products will be a major flop if design processes don't catch up. In addition, although design tools have improved in terms of doing what they do better, they are still generally the same tools performing the same functions. But this is hardly enough. The increased complexity and new features of applications mean that designers need tools that not only do better, but more

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 8 )