Automated Generation of System-Specific Processors


Abstract

Processors have long played a role in embedded systems design, but fundamental changes in the economics, technology and complexity of systems are making processors even more central. New engines for protocol, signal and image processing in communciation and consumer applications must support new data-types and algorithms and yet must be radically smaller and more power efficient than previous 32b processor solutions. Tensilica has designed the XtensaTM processor generator to allow chip architects to quickly discover and describe the key instruction, memory, and interface functions required by their applications. The generator produces a complete hardware design, verification and software development environment for that custom processor less than one hour. The resulting designs consistently execute applications faster, dissipate less power and use less code than previous processors. Automatic processor generation significantly improves application efficiency, eases process portability and simplifies integration into a "system-on-a-chip" design. This talk with discuss the processor generator tool and results for several application examples implemented in commodity ASIC CMOS technology.


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