Modern Embedded Computing

1st Edition

Designing Connected, Pervasive, Media-Rich Systems

Authors: Peter Barry Patrick Crowley
Paperback ISBN: 9780123914903
eBook ISBN: 9780123944078
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 27th January 2012
Page Count: 552
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Modern embedded systems are used for connected, media-rich, and highly integrated handheld devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players. All of these embedded systems require networking, graphic user interfaces, and integration with PCs, as opposed to traditional embedded processors that can perform only limited functions for industrial applications. While most books focus on these controllers, Modern Embedded Computing provides a thorough understanding of the platform architecture of modern embedded computing systems that drive mobile devices.

The book offers a comprehensive view of developing a framework for embedded systems-on-chips. Examples feature the Intel Atom processor, which is used in high-end mobile devices such as e-readers, Internet-enabled TVs, tablets, and net books. Beginning with a discussion of embedded platform architecture and Intel Atom-specific architecture, modular chapters cover system boot-up, operating systems, power optimization, graphics and multi-media, connectivity, and platform tuning. Companion lab materials compliment the chapters, offering hands-on embedded design experience.

Key Features

  • Learn embedded systems design with the Intel Atom Processor, based on the dominant PC chip architecture. Examples use Atom and offer comparisons to other platforms
  • Design embedded processors for systems that support gaming, in-vehicle infotainment, medical records retrieval, point-of-sale purchasing, networking, digital storage, and many more retail, consumer and industrial applications
  • Explore companion lab materials online that offer hands-on embedded design experience


Students in computer architecture, electrical engineering, and embedded system design; professional embedded system designers

Table of Contents





PART 1. Principles of Modern Embedded Systems

Chapter 1. Embedded Systems Landscape

What is an Embedded Computer System?

Why is this Transition Inevitable?

What Range of Embedded Systems Exists?

What to Expect from the Rest of this Book

Chapter 2. Attributes of Embedded Systems

Embedded Platform Characteristics


Chapter 3. The Future of Embedded Systems

Technology Trends

Issues, Applications, and Initiatives

Challenges and Uncertainties


PART 2. Embedded Systems Architecture and Operation

Chapter 4. Embedded Platform Architecture

Platform Overview

Volatile Memory Technologies

Nonvolatile Storage

Device Interface—High Performance

Universal Serial Bus

Device Interconnect—Low Performance

General-Purpose Input/Output

Power Delivery


Chapter 5. Embedded Processor Architecture

Basic Execution Environment

Application Binary Interface

Processor Instruction Classes

Exceptions/Interrupts Model

Vector Table Structure

Exception Frame

Masking Interrupts

Acknowledging Interrupts

Interrupt Latency

Memory Mapping and Protection

Memory Management Unit

MMU and Processes

Memory Hierarchy

Intel Atom Microarchitecture (Supplemental Material)

Chapter 6. Embedded Platform Boot Sequence

Multi-Core and Multi-Processor Boot

Boot Technology Considerations

Hardware Power Sequences (the Pre-pre-boot)

RESET: The First Few Steps and a Jump

Early Initialization

AP Processor Initialization

Advanced Initialization

Legacy BIOS and UEFI Framework Software

Cold and Warm Boot


Chapter 7. Operating Systems Overview

Application Interfa


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About the Author

Peter Barry

Peter Barry serves as principal engineer in the Intel Embedded & Communications Group. He has worked in the development of embedded systems for over twenty years in Intel, Basic Communications, Nortel Networks and Tellabs, working with processors from Z80, 68K, PowerPC, ARM, XScale and Intel architecture systems. He is an expert in embedded operating systems and embedded platforms, and has developed board support packages for proprietary RTOS, pSOS, VxWorks, WinCE and Linux. He has developed protocol stacks and applications primarily for data communications and telecommunications and industrial applications.

Affiliations and Expertise

Principal Engineer, Intelligent Systems Group, Intel Corporation

Patrick Crowley

Patrick Crowley is an associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. His research interests are in computer and network systems architecture, with a current focus on the design of programmable embedded network systems and the invention of superior network monitoring and security techniques. He co-founded the ACM/IEEE Symposium on Architectures for Networking and Communications Systems, and co-edited the three-book series, Network Processor Design. He serves as Associate Editor of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking. In 2007, Crowley was chosen to join the DARPA Computer Science Study Group.

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate Professor, Computer Science & Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis


Intel Recommended Reading List for Developers, 2nd Half 2013 – Books for Embedded Developers, Intel
Intel Recommended Reading List for Developers, 1st Half 2014 – Books for Embedded Developers, Intel


There is need for a good, comprehensive book on embedded design and the lab-based approach using the Intel Architecture is very good and practical.

Tilman Wolf, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst