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Processor Design

Processor DesignProcessor Design

System-On-Chip Computing for ASICs and FPGAs

Edited by Jari Nurmi

  • Chapter 3
    Beyond the Valley of the Lost Processors:
    Problems, Fallacies, and Pitfalls in Processor Design
    By Grant Martin and Steven Leibson
    • This chapter surveys thirteen failed processor species (a baker's dozen) and explores the major design errors that caused their demise. Each major design mistake is also illuminated with examples. However, given the endless recycling of many old ideas as technology makes them shiny, bright, and new once again, who knows when the intrepid explorer/designer will next meet up with a descendent of one of these species?
  • Chapter 8
    Customizable Processors and Processor Customization
    By Steven Leibson
    • The first commercial microprocessor chip, Intel's 4004, appeared in November, 1971. Since, then, most designers have used fixed-ISA (instruction-set-architecture) processors in their system designs - first as processor chips in board-level designs and later as processor cores in SOCs. In fact, many system designers cannot envision designing a custom processor for their projects because the use of fixed-ISA machines has become so thoroughly engrained in the conventional design methodology. A small cadre of designers created custom processor based on bit-slice technology in the 1980s for applications with very high performance requirements, but electronic system design has largely evolved into an exercise in adapting standardized processor and DSP architectures to target tasks, often with additional hardware acceleration to bridge the inevitable gap between a task's required computations and the fixed-ISA processor's abilities.

Published by Springer
ISBN: 978-1-4020-5529-4 (HB)
ISBN: 978-1-4020-5530-0 (e-book)
Published: 2007
Copyright: 2007 Springer
Pages: 528, Hardcover

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About This Books

Processor Design addresses the design of different types of embedded, firmware-programmable computation engines. Because the design and customization of embedded processors has become a mainstream task in the development of complex SoCs (Systems-on-Chip), ASIC and SoC designers must master the integration and development of processor hardware as an integral part of their job. Even contemporary FPGA devices can now accommodate several programmable processors. There are many different kinds of embedded processor cores available, suiting different kinds of tasks and applications.

Processor Design provides insight into a number of different flavors of processor architectures and their design, software tool generation, implementation, and verification. After a brief introduction to processor architectures and how processor designers have sometimes failed to deliver what was expected, the authors introduce a generic flow for embedded on-chip processor design and start to explore the vast design space of on-chip processing. The types of processor cores covered include general purpose RISC cores, traditional DSP, a VLIW approach to signal processing, processor cores that can be customized for specific applications, reconfigurable processors, protocol processors, Java engines, and stream processors. Co-processor and multi-core design approaches that deliver application-specific performance over and above that which is available from single-core designs are also described.

The special design requirements for processors targeted for FPGA implementation, clock generation and distribution in microprocessor circuits, and clockless realization of processors are addressed. Tools and methodologies for application-specific embedded processor design are covered, together with processor modeling and early estimation techniques, and programming tool support for custom processors. The book concludes with a glance to the future of embedded on-chip processors.
Written for:

System-on-Chip engineers, embedded system designers, FPGA application developers, digital ASIC designers, EE and CS graduate students