Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers
In embedded computing, cost, power and performance constraints call for the design of specialized processors, rather than for the use of the existing off-the-shelf solutions. While the design of these application-specific CPUs could be tackled from scratch, a cheaper and more effective option is that of extending the existing processors and toolchains. Extensibility is indeed a feature now offered in real designs, e.g., by processors such as Tensilica Xtensa, ARC ARCtangent, STMicroelectronics ST200 and MIPS CorExtend. While all these processors provide development environments with simulation capabilities for evaluating efficiently hand-crafted solutions, the tools to identify automatically the best processor configuration for a given application are less common.