Customizable Embedded Processors

Design Technologies and Applications


  • Paolo Ienne, Professor, Processor Architecture Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Rainer Leupers, Professor of Software Systems on Silicon, RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Customizable processors have been described as the next natural step in the evolution of the microprocessor business: a step in the life of a new technology where top performance alone is no longer sufficient to guarantee market success. Other factors become fundamental, such as time to market, convenience, energy efficiency, and ease of customization. This book is the first to explore comprehensively one of the most fundamental trends which emerged in the last decade: to treat processors not as rigid, fixed entities, which designers include “as is” in their products; but rather, to build sound methodologies to tailor-fit processors to the specific needs of such products. This book addresses the goal of maintaining a very large family of processors, with a wide range of features, at a cost comparable to that of maintaining a single processor.
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PRIMARY AUDIENCE: Engineers in industry working in embedded software, system architectures, processor architectures and design tools SECONDARY AUDIENCE:Academic researchers


Book information

  • Published: July 2006
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-369526-0


“This book represents a significant contribution to understanding and using configurable embedded processors. The reader will find all design aspects described in detail by the experts in the field, and thus this book will serve as the "standard reference" on this topic. This contribution is very up to date and complete, as it covers modeling, analysis and design of both the hardware and software components of customizable processors. A unique feature is the gathering, under the same cover, several topics that are different in nature but intimately related.” - Giovanni De Micheli, Professor and Director of the Integrated Systems Centre at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, and President of the Scientific Committee of CSEM (Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique SA), Neuchâtel, Switzerland. “Customized Embedded Processors provides an objective, state-of-the-art treatment of emerging tools for the design of complex systems-on-a-chip. The contents of the book are provided by well-known experts in the field who have decades of real-world experience. Understanding the pitfalls, limitations, and advantages of SoC design alternatives is a must in today's competitive environment where we cannot afford to re-invent the wheel every few years. I highly recommend the book for anyone who practices advanced architecture development for energy-efficient, low-cost SoC's.” - Don Shaver, Senior Member IEEE, Texas Instruments Fellow “The concept of configurable processors has emerged from the lab and entered the mainstream for high-volume electronic systems. Customizable Embedded Processors is the best overview to date of this rapidly evolving field. It pulls together the work of the leading researchers and practitioners from around the world into a single consistent exploration of the benefits, challenges and techniques for creating efficient application-specific processors. It explores both the widely proven benefits and the theoretical limits to customization. Configurable processors have become an essential building block for modern system-on-chip design, and this book is an essential tool for understanding the leading-edge of configurable processor research.” - Chris Rowen, CEO, Tensilica, Inc. “It is clear that application-specific instruction-set processors (ASIPs) will be a key building block of the emerging multi-processor system-on-chip platforms of the next decade. For many critical functions, the competing requirements of flexibility and efficiency will favor their use over general-purpose processors or hardwired logic. As a longtime advocate for ASIPs, I am delighted to discover this book which covers the key aspects of their design and use from a variety of perspectives: from leading edge industry R&D labs, through startups, to academic research leaders. It covers the technical challenges in ASIP use, but also many of the important non-technical issues. Most of the leading innovative ASIP projects are covered here, so this book may well become the definitive reference for this increasingly important domain.” - Pierre Paulin, Director, SoC Platform Automation, STMicroelectronics Inc. “Standard Processors have been the fuel for the computer revolution over the last 50 years. A new technology called Custom Embedded Processors is fast becoming the key enabling technology of the next 50 years. In this book the reader will learn the basic theory, and practical examples of how this powerful new approach has been put to use. It’s a must read far anyone hoping to build the next big thing in the 21st century.” - Alan Naumann, President and CEO, CoWare, Inc.

Table of Contents

IntroductionBusiness Opportunities: The Case of Wireless ApplicationsLogistic Challenges: Lofty Ambitions and Stark Realities of Customizing ProcessorsArchitectural Description LanguagesRetargetable ToolsetsProcessor ConfigurationAutomatic Instruction-Set ExtensionsChallenges to Automatic CustomizationToolset Support for Instruction-Set ExtensionsCoprocessor Generation from Executable CodeDatapath SynthesisInstruction Matching and ModellingProcessor VerificationSub-RISC ProcessorsAn ASIP for UMTS-FDD Cell SearchHardware/software Trade-offs for Advanced 3G Channel DecodingFPGA-Based Processor ImplementationDesigning a H.264 Encoder with Real-World Tradeoffs