Sorting out the confusion about using multicore - Embedded.com

Sorting out the confusion about using multicore

In UBM Technology’s most recent Embedded Market Study , about half thedevelopers who participated said they were building embedded designs thatincorporate more than one processor, but only 15 percent had committed tothe use of multicore architectures. Most of them, about 60 percent, usedmultiple different processors in a single design, and about 25 percent wereusing multiple identical, but separate, processors.

If the use of multiple processors in a design is common, why haven’t moreembedded developers shifted to designs based on multicore SoC architectures? The responses to Jack Ganssle’s recent column on “Multicore madness” capture the strugglesembedded developers are having implementing multicore into their designs.

One of his readers – Kalpak – summarized the reaction to the trend currentlytoward symmetrical and homogeneous multicore architectures. “Though easierto design and manufacture, symmetric multicore is useless beyond a certainlimit for most applications,Kalpak writes. “What will be more useful is Asymcores; smaller cores each specialized to a specific task .” Whatever thehardware manufacturers do finally standardize on, writes cshore: “it's up to we SW guys tomake best use of them .” Somewhat sarcastically, Neznanovic writes: ”I would say replacing a faster clock with multicore is as effective as replacing C with C++ -works well on paper, but not so useful in real life.

For answers to your questions about multicore, the best place to come isthe 2012 ESC Designwest March 26-28 and itsMulticoreSummit , the venue for the seventh annual MulticoreDeveloper Conference. There will be at least 25 classes on a widerange of topics such as multicore debug and tracing techniques, parallelprogramming paradigms, applying MCAPI, and creating a compiler infrastructurefor heterogeneous multicores,

For additional help, there is Embedded.com’s knowledgebase of severalhundred online multicore design articles, white papers, and webinars on designingwith multicore architectures.Of those my Editor’s Top Picks this weekare:

Manage multiple processes/processors in a deterministicdesign
Pick the right multicore virtualization use case
Multicore networking in Linux user space with no performanceoverhead.

Embedded.com Site Editor Bernard Cole is also a partner in TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Call 928-525-9087 or send an email to bccole@acm.org .

This article provided courtesy of Embedded.com and Embedded Systems Design Magazine. Sign up for subscriptions and newsletters. Copyright © 2012 UBM–All rights reserved .

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