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New Approaches For Processor Architectures


Processor vendors are starting to emphasize microarchitectural improvements and data movement over process node scaling, setting the stage for much bigger performance gains in devices that narrowly target what end users are trying to accomplish. The changes are a recognition that domain specificity, and the ability to adjust or adapt designs to unique workloads, are now the best way to impro... » read more

The Difference Between Processor Configuration And Customization


For many years, people have been talking about configuring processor IP cores, but especially with growing interest in the open RISC-V ISA, there is much more talk about customization. So, what is the difference? A simple analogy is to think of ordering a pizza. With most pizzerias, you have standard bases and a choice of toppings from a limited list. You can configure the pizza to the ... » read more

IChannels: Exploiting Current Management Mechanisms to Create Covert Channels in Modern Processors


Find technical paper link here. Abstract: "To operate efficiently across a wide range of workloads with varying power requirements, a modern processor applies different current management mechanisms, which briefly throttle instruction execution while they adjust voltage and frequency to accommodate for power-hungry instructions (PHIs) in the instruction stream. Doing so 1) reduces the pow... » read more

RISC-V Verification: The 5 Levels Of Simulation-Based Processor Hardware DV


By Lee Moore and Simon Davidmann The RISC-V open standard ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) offers developers the opportunity to configure the features and functions of a custom processor to uniquely address their target end application needs and requirements. RISC-V has a modular structure with many standard instruction extensions for additional dedicated hardware features such as Floating... » read more

Is RISC-V The Future?


Is RISC-V the future? This is a question that we often get asked, and let’s assume that we mean ‘is RISC-V going to be the dominant ISA in the processor market?’ This is certainly an unfolding situation and has changed significantly in the last five years. RISC-V originated at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010 and took a number of years to get traction with industry. A bi... » read more

What Is An ASIP?


ASIP stands for “application-specific instruction-set processor” and simply means a processor which has been designed to be optimal for a particular application or domain. General-purpose versus application- or domain-specific processors Most processor cores to date have been general-purpose, which means that they have been designed to handle a wide range of applications with good average... » read more

Xilinx AI Engines And Their Applications


This white paper explores the architecture, applications, and benefits of using Xilinx's new AI Engine for compute intensive applications like 5G cellular and machine learning DNN/CNN. 5G requires between five to 10 times higher compute density when compared with prior generations; AI Engines have been optimized for DSP, meeting both the throughput and compute requirements to deliver the hig... » read more

Customizing An Existing RISC-V Processor


In a previous post, we considered how you could create an optimized ISA for a domain-specific processor core by profiling software and experimenting with adding/removing instructions. Using the open RISC-V ISA can be a great starting point for a processor that combines application-specific capabilities and access to portable software. The old-fashioned way to modify the instruction set wo... » read more

Arm Goes For Performance


At the recent Linley Processor Conference, Arm presented two processors. This was regarded as so confidential that the original pre-conference version of the presentations didn't contain the Arm one, even though that pdf was only put online about an hour before. But most of the outline of what they presented they already talked about in May, a few months ago. I said recently that this seem... » read more

Defining Processor Core Complexity


The more complex a processor core, the larger the area and power consumption. But increasing complexity is not a single dimension, as processors can be more complex in different ways. In selecting a processor IP core, it is important to choose the right sort of complexity for your project. Some ways of thinking about complexity include: Word length Execution units Privilege/prot... » read more

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