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Embedded software in real-time signal processing systems: design technologies

Auteur(s) : G. Goossens, J. Van Praet, D. Lanneer, W. Geurts, A. Kifli, Cl. B. Liem, P. Paulin

Journal : Proceedings of the IEEE

Volume : 85

Issue : 3

Pages : 436-454

Doi : 10.1109/5.558718

The increasing use of embedded software, often implemented on a core processor in a single-chip system, is a clear trend in the telecommunications, multimedia, and consumer electronics industries. A companion paper in this issue presents a survey of application and architecture trends for embedded systems in these growth markets. However, the lack of suitable design technology remains a significant obstacle in the development of such systems. One of the key requirements is more efficient software compilation technology. Especially in the case of fixed-point digital signal processor (DSP) cores, it is often cited that commercially available compilers are unable to take full advantage of the architectural features of the processor. Moreover, due to the shorter lifetimes and the architectural specialization of many processor cores, processor designers are often compelled to neglect the issue of compiler support. This situation has resulted in an increased research activity in the area of design tool support for embedded processors. This paper discusses design technology issues for embedded systems using processor cores, with a focus on software compilation tools. Architectural characteristics of contemporary processor cores are reviewed and tool requirements are formulated. This is followed by a comprehensive survey of both existing and new software compilation techniques that are considered important in the context of embedded processors.