Coherency: The New Normal In SoCs


We are not far from devices each handling 100 teraflops of compute, billions of pixels of display, hundreds of gigabits of connectivity, and terabytes of storage. Compared with current state-of-the-art mobile SoCs, these are increases of one or two orders of magnitude — at similar or preferably lower power consumption. SoC design is changing to meet this challenge. Multicore architecture i... » read more

Silexica: Multicore Software Automation


Multicore programming has a long and troubled history, and it has become much worse as the computing world moves increasingly toward heterogeneous multicore architectures. While it's easy enough to map out the hardware's power/performance characteristics, it is much harder to make the software take advantage of the appropriate cores. Enter Silexa, which began as a research project in 2008 at... » read more

How Many Cores? (Part 1)


The optimal number of processor cores in chip designs is becoming less obvious, in part due to new design and architectural options that make it harder to draw clear comparisons, and in part because just throwing more cores at a problem does not guarantee better performance. This is hardly a new problem, but it does have a sizable list of new permutations and variables—right-sized heteroge... » read more

System Bits: Feb. 3


A viable silicon substitute A new study by UC Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) moves graphene a step closer to knocking silicon off as the dominant workhorse of the electronics industry. They reminded that while silicon is ubiquitous in semiconductors and integrated circuits, researchers have been eyeing graphene, a one-atom... » read more

Software Impact Grows


By Ed Sperling As the number of processors and processor cores increase in SoC, so does the amount of software. But unlike hardware, which grows linearly, software frequently grows exponentially. The great advantage of software is configurability—both before and after tapeout—yet it adds many more possible permutations and interactions that need to be worked out. And unlike the old PC m... » read more

DFTMAX Compression Shared I/O


A significant design trend in recent years has been the widespread use of ARM multicore processors in systems-on-chip (SoCs). Designers’ ability to easily and cost-effectively employ multiple, high-performance embedded processors to meet the computational demands of the end application has helped fuel the explosive growth in mobile computing, networking infrastructure, and digital infotainmen... » read more

DFTMAX Compression Shared I/O


A significant design trend in recent years has been the widespread use of ARM multicore processors in systems-on-chip (SoCs). Designers’ ability to easily and cost-effectively employ multiple, high-performance embedded processors to meet the computational demands of the end application has helped fuel the explosive growth in mobile computing, networking infrastructure, and digital infotainmen... » read more

Experts At The Table: Multi-Core And Many-Core


By Ed Sperling Low-Power Engineering sat down with Naveed Sherwani, CEO of Open-Silicon; Amit Rohatgi, principal mobile architect at MIPS; Grant Martin, chief scientist at Tensilica; Bill Neifert, CTO at Carbon Design Systems; and Kevin McDermott, director of market development for ARM’s System Design Division. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. LPE: Computers aren’t gettin... » read more

Rethinking Big Iron


By Ann Steffora Mutschler One size does not fit all when it comes to the server market, and that may be the best option for low-power processor makers to gain a toehold in a world that until now has been almost laser-focused on performance. Even higher-performance versions of low-power processing architectures are starting to show up inside of datacenters. Many are application-specific ... » read more

Multicore: Is More Better?


By Frank Ferro Two cores are better than one, right? It reminds me of those AT&T commercials where they ask the kids, “Who thinks two is better than one?” And of course the kids all yell, two! In another version of the commercial they ask; “What’s better, doing two things at once or just one?” And again they all yell, two! Well, this is a good summary or of last week’s Multicor... » read more

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