Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
EE Times-India > Embedded

Multimedia drives processor industry towards programmability

Posted: 12 Oct 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processors  programmability  multiprocessor  software 

The infinite appetite for live multimedia-based devices, especially for handhelds and devices for the living room, is driving the development of new silicon platforms. This, in turn, is causing the processor industry to move towards greater programmability.

Addressing members of the India Semiconductor Association, on forthcoming changes in chip design necessary to ride the multimedia wave, Chris Rowen, president and CEO, Tensilica Inc., said the march of programmability is inexorable, as is the trend to use more processors on a single chip.

Another big change, according to Rowen, is that scaling will not be as crucial to the attainment of lower power consumption and higher clock speeds. Instead, scaling will enable better subsystem architectures and higher integration of multiple subsystems into chip platforms

Rowen also said, "The complexity and rapid change in media and communications standards needs more computation, more flexibility, more software, better energy optimisation and broader expertise on the part of chip designers."

While form factor, power and battery life have always been important, these will become even more so, as products continue to go mobile or eco-friendly. Chip design must pay more attention to these factors, and they will become major selling points in the future, he said.

The implications of all these changes are that there will be increased emphasis on platform solutions and less on point products, more on processor-based products than on hardwired solutions, multiprocessor rather than uniprocessor based solutions, and C/C++ over assembly language.

"Processors must become more flexible, and programmability is the most universally accepted way of getting flexibility," said Rowen. "Besides, programmability can mean that products can have more 'hot' features at a little extra cost, and flexibility will result in more systems and designs. The industry is moving toward programmability."

Tensilica expects to see some basic shifts in how people are coping with the complexity of design, as designs are becoming more programmable, using many more processors and becoming platforms targeting specific application domains?a balance between being generic and specific. This balance is a major global, multimedia theme going forward.

Within high-volume semiconductors, the creation of new media-rich platforms is one of the biggest trends, as content and communication access methods are set to transform the experience individuals have using mobile or wired devices, especially for entertainment. This multimedia wave is fuelling chip-design growth and platform innovation around the world, concluded Rowen.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

Comment on "Multimedia drives processor industry..."
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.


Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

Back to Top