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October 1, 2012

Tech Focus

Optimizing embedded system performance

Software performance engineering for embedded systems: Part 1 - What is SPE?

Using CMMI for software requirements testing in system design & development

Evaluating the performance of multi-core processors- Part 1


Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor
Embedded.com
bccole@acm.org
Read his blog

In a three part series starting this week on "Software performance engineering for embedded systems," Freescale's Robert Oshana delves into the details of an issue embedded developers have always been concerned about but in the past have only dealt with in a piecemeal application by application fashion.

The issue of software performance has always been a complex one, and is likely to get even more so, for at least three reasons. First, there is the issue of what is meant by "performance" Interrupt response times? Raw clock rate? System throughput? Power consumption? Second, in what context is the assessment done: Network processing? Connected consumer devices? The wireless Internet of Things? Machine and motor control applications? Third, what tools and methodologies are to be used to make such assessments.

In his series of articles, Oshana sorts through these complex issues, showing where traditional tools for CMMI and requirements planning and assessment come into play and what new tools and methodologies will be needed. Complementing his report, here are the links to a number of Embedded.com design and development articles, white papers, webinars and online classes, of which my Editor's Top Picks are:

Using CMMI for software requirements testing
Evaluating the performance of multi-core processors
Getting disciplined about embedded software development by Jack Ganssle

In addition here are my Editor's Recommendations of conference papers and journal proceedings on these topics, downloadable free in PDF form:

Software quality metrics and the impact on embedded software
Software Architecture Models for Performance, Reliability, and Cost
Performance Evaluation of Component-based Software

As the embedded systems design environment becomes more connected and more integral to all aspects of our lives, embedded software performance engineering will be of increasing importance. I would like to hear about your ideas for topics you would like to read, as well as blogs and development articles you would like to contributed to Embedded.com.


Development

Software performance engineering for embedded systems: Part 1 - What is SPE?

In the first in a three part series excerpted from his soon-to-be published "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems", Freescale's Robert Oshana defines what is meant by Software Performance Engineering (SPE) and how it can help you evaluate the performance of your software in a given applications and how to remove any bottlenecks.

Using CMMI for software requirements testing in system design & development

Use the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) standard to improve software project processes, particularly requirements management and traceability.

Evaluating the performance of multi-core processors- Part 1

In a two part series, Max Domeika, author of "Software Development for Embedded Multi-core Systems" evaluates the various processor benchmark suite available, with examples of how to estimate application performance. Part 1: Choosing the right benchmark suite.

Getting disciplined about embedded software development: Part 1 - Any idiot can write code

Here's a guide from Jack Ganssle on doing software development in a disciplined way to reduce both errors and the time it takes to complete a project. Part 1: Any idiot can write code.

Are you leveraging multicore processors effectively?

Decrease cost, add new features, and preserve intellectual property.

Using the application modeling and mapping methodology for system-level performance analysis

This article describes our experiences using the Application Modeling and Mapping methodology (AMM) based on commercial tooling from Synopsys. This methodology is valuable at the technical and organizational level for investigating the feasibility of new electronic products.

The three Ps of value in selecting DSPs

The demand for DSPs has outstripped the supply of engineers and programmers who are familiar with them. Price, performance, and power are the first three criteria most developers evaluate. This high-level article walks you through the process of weighing and balancing these and other characteristics.

Thread synchronization techniques for better multicore system power/performance tradeoffs

An in-depth look at a thread synchronization mechanism based on hardware supplied primitives for use in multicore designs to guarantee both power savings and improved system performance as well as RTOS overhead.

Using requirements planning in embedded systems design: Part 6 – Determining your system's task timing parameters

In this six part tutorial, Keith Curtis takes you step by step through development of an embedded systems design requirements document for a seven digit electronic alarm clock. Part 6: Determining your system's task timing parameters

Using virtual system prototyping to evaluate VME hardware platform alternatives

Deepak Shankur explains how early performance analysis and architecture exploration can be used by board and systems designers to evaluate hardware configuration tradeoffs and VME bus alternatives.


Products

Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 Starter Kit jumpstarts development

The Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 Starter Kit from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has a 4.3-inch LCD display supporting rotation and tilt capabilities.

8-bit PIC MCUs combine eXtreme Low Power, automated touch sensing

Microchip Technology Inc. has expanded its 8-bit eXtreme low Power (XLP) Enhanced Midrange Core PIC microcontrollers (MCUs), with the new PIC16F1512/13 devices.

Cortex-M4 MCUs consume 66% Less Power

Atmel Corporation has launched SAM4L family of ARM Cortex-M4 processor-based microcontrollers (MCUs) incorporating the company's proprietary ultra-low power picoPower technology.

NXP expands LPC4000 digital signal controller family

NXP's LPC408x and LPC407x microcontrollers feature advanced signal processing capabilities and a wide range of connectivity options.

Software engineers get early access for C-code parallelization

Vector Fabrics has added vfLabs to its cloud-based tool suite for parallelizing sequential C code that gives software engineers an early opportunity to try out functionality as it is developed.


Insights

I desperately need stinkin' requirements

We need requirements, and must spend more energy gathering them.

Software engineering is NOT an oxymoron

Is software engineering an engineering discipline, a science . . . or one of the liberal arts?

Making "Software Engineering" Engineering

Are there provable theoretical underpinnings behind software engineering?

Benchmarking is just the start

It's difficult to get even a suite of benchmarks to accurately represent a real chunk of critical-path code. A variety of factors are conspiring against benchmark numbers.

More on requirements: a few simple rules

What makes great requirements? A few simple rules serve as guidance


TechOnline Library

Tech Papers

Delivering effective results with CMMI in systems software development

Software Performance Engineering of an Embedded DSP System Application

Power and Performance Optimizations

The Toolbox for High-Performance CPU Design

High-performance Multi-core Networking Software Design Options

Tool Options: Maximizing Software Performance in Multi-core Processors

Webinars & Courses

ESC SV-365- Implementing CMMI, A Case Study

Network Performance is Application Performance

Unlock key strategies for successful systems development

ESC SV-420- Stress Testing Embedded Software Applications

Addressing the High Performance/Low Energy Requirements of Multicore Platforms



Conferences and Events

Mark your calendar:

The next Embedded Systems Conference 2013 (now part of DESIGN West) will be April 22 to 25, 2013 at the McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA. Join the pre-registration mailing list for deals!

ARM TechCon 2012 is coming up on October 30 through November 1, 2012 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 30 is Chip Design Day
Oct. 31 through Nov. 1 are the Software & Systems Design Days
ARM TechCon tracks include:
Android / open source
Compute platforms
Developing & debugging
Low-power design
Microcontroller and programmable platforms
Multimedia processing
Networking & connectivity
Safety & security
Software optimization on ARM-powered systems
The fundamentals of ARM

For more industry events, visit Embedded.com's event page.



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