Embedded Systems October 2000 Vol13_11

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ALEXANDER WOLFE HP and STM icroelectron ics Launch "Lx" A new VLIW architecture promises to shake up the system-on-chip design world. s buzz builds around the new approach toward embedded chip architectures called system-on-chip, two companies have teamed together to ome up with what they think is a be tter mousetrap. This new family of embedded processors, which is designed to be more flexible and provide better performance at lower power dissipation and lower cost than traditional SOC approaches, will make its debut this month atlhe Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, CA. The ground-breaking architecture, known as "Lx", evolved from a collabora- tion between Hewlett-Packard Labs, in Cambridge, MA, and France-based STMicroelectroni cs. "The fundame ntal thing we believe is that, a t any level of technology, we can produce a VLIW processor th at's two to 10 tim es faste r than an equivalent RISC p rocessor," said Roger Shephe rd, manager of advanced architectures at STMicroelectroni cs' Bristol, England labs. Shepherd also serves as ST's lead represe nta ti ve on th e proj ect, which is cente red at HP's lab in Cambridge, MA. System-o n-chi p, in general, refers to hardware runs where time-to-market and cost are cri tical (actors. The chips themselves are often ASIC-based solutions, consisting of a central microprocessor core or a DSP core and multiple periph- eral functions. However, .-eining in the engineering costs for small-volume designs-even when off-th e-sheU' cores are used-has remained an indusu-ywide challenge. Embedded Systems Programming OCTOBER 2000 111

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