Embedded.com Newsletter (4-06-10): ESC Spring 2010 Special Edition on MCUs and MPUs.



The Embedded Newsletter is delivered to youfree of charge from the staff of Embedded.com. To view the Embedded.com site , visit: http://www.embedded.com
To read the pros and cons on the Embedded.com Forum and betweenproponents of 32-bit MCU architectures such as Joseph Liu in “What's nextfor microcontrollers?” and 8-bit advocates such as Steve Drehobl in”8 bit MCUswon't be going away anytime soon” you would think there was nomiddle ground on this issue.

But of course, unlike politics or religion where issues are alwayseither/or, right or wrong, in embedded design, the decision aboutmicrocontroller word width and capability is much more dependent on theapplication. In embedded design there is no room for dogmatic either/or”true believers.”

On Embedded.com, we get as many articles from one side of thespectrum as we do on the other. Recent 8/16-bit design articles haveincluded: Flirting with 8-bitMCU OSes ,” and “Building low cost appliances and smartmeters with 8 bit MCUs,” among others. On the 32-bit side,recent articles have included: “Decompiling the ARM architecture code,”and Migrating ARM7 code to a Cortex-M3 MCU .”

At the Embedded Systems Conference later this month, you will alsosee similar even-handed treatment. Many of the classes in the Microprocessors & Microcontrollers trackare devoted to the needs of 8-/16-bit MCU developers including MitchFerguson's class “You can do digital filtering with an MCU(ESC-227).” For a real hands-on experience you should techout two classes TI engineers will be conducting, one a teardownof its eZ430 Chronos Watch development kit for  its16-bit 430 MCU and the other a ChronosWorkshop. If you want to get a feel for the usefulness ofthe Chronos as a serious MCU programming aid, readState machine designis as easy as telling the time ,” by Anders Holmberg.

On the 32-bit side, if you do a search on “32-bit” or “ARM” on the ESC class listing page , you willcome up with almost three dozen classes including “Building powerful applications for theCortex-MC quickly and easily (SS-ARM2),” and “Examining ARM's Cortex MCU softwareinterface standard (ESC-247).

Between ESD Magazine, Embedded.com and the Embedded SystemsConference, I think there's enough to keep you busy and up-to-date inyour skills and design knowledge. (Embedded.comEditor Bernard Cole, bccole@acm.org )

  SPRING 2010 ESC: News and Events
ESC: Is the smart grid a little too smart for your own good?
The smart grid promises worthwhile energy savings as well as market opportunity for our industry, but it has some potential privacy and compulsive issues, as well.
Get beyond the resource constraints of embedded devices
By fusing HTTP and VoIP, processors with 953 bytes can be utilized.
What do you mean, there's RF at ESC?
If you're doing “RF”, you might think that the Embedded Systems Conference is not for you–but you're wrong.
Embedded vs. discrete processors: debate at ESC
See two gunslingers duke it out on an ESC panel refereed by yours truly.
ESC: Panel to debate wireless sensor networks
A panel of experts has been drawn together to discuss the future of wireless sensor networks at the Embedded Systems Conference, which take place April 26 to 29 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.
  EDITOR'S TOP PICK by Bernard Cole, Embedded.com Editor
PRODUCT HOW-TO: State machine design is as easy as telling the time
Anders Holmberg evaluates TI's eZ430 Chronos watch evaluation kit using the IAR Systems visualState tool and finds it an excellent platform to explore the basics of state machine design.
  DESIGNING WITH: 8/16-bit Microcontrollers
The 8-bit MCUs won't be going away anytime soon
Despite claims that the 8-bit MCU will soon be obsolete by 32-bit devices, that may not exactly be the case.
FLIRTing with 8-bit MCU OSes
FLIRT is for developers who want a small, easy to use, and simple to port operating system for a truly tiny multithreaded system on an eight bit MCU, without sacrificing the ability to multithread and share CPU time effectively.
Build low cost consumer appliances & smart meters with low pin count 8 bit MCUs
In this back-to-the-basics “why-to,” Sandhya Mallikarjun presents the case for using low pin count 8 bit MCUs in a wide range of consumer appliances, smart meters and home entertainment systems.
What next for microcontrollers?
Viewing the migration of embedded developers from 8- and 16-bit to 32-bit microocontroller from the perspective of the ARM architecture, ARM's Joseph Liu looks at some of the factors accelerating this migration.
Decompiling the ARM architecture code
At UBM TechInsights we are often tasked with proving patent infringement of a software algorithm as part of our IP Management Services. Our example algorithm is based on the ARM architecture.
Migrating ARM7 code to a Cortex-M3 MCU
There's a new ARM embedded core in town. Here's a step-by-step guide to porting your code to the Cortex-M3.
PRODUCT HOW-TO: The ARM Cortex-M3 and the convergence of the MCU market
If ARM's achievements in smart phones (>80 percent market share are anything to go by, the Cortex-M3 may spark a rapid consolidation of the microcontroller market, dramatically reducing the number of competing architectures on offer.
More about designing embedded apps with the Cortex-M3 & other ARM cores
Check here first for the latest How-To and Technical Insight articles on designing embedded systems with ARM processor cores.
  EDITOR'S NOTE by Bernard Cole, Embedded.com Editor
ESC (Editor's Note: Come to the ESC. In this one-minute video , RichNass, conference editorial director, summarizes whatthe Embedded Systems Conference offers for engineers: stay up-to-dateon theindustry while updating your skill set. )

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