Embedded Systems November 2000 Vol13_12

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confluence of two trends," Goodson said. "Fir t is the rapid uptake of J ava by developers, and then there's the huge growth in embedded apps." He laid the failure of previous industry efforts to catch fire not so much at the chips themselves but rather at the maturi ty of the embed- ded community as a whole. "To a cer- tain extent, until now Java processors have been ahead of their tim e," Goodson contended. Vulcan built Moon as a member of Al tera's Consultants Alliance Program, implementing first silicon on Altera's Apex 20K FPGA technology. Moving forward, Vulcan ay they want to ass ist Altera u e rs who have used low-density device in the past but are now ready to move to higher-density FPGAs designed using standard HDLs and synthesis. That archi tectural angle is predi- cated on a design that implements mo t of the J ava byte-code in tructions directly in hardware. That is, tl1e more complex tasks are run eithe r in microcode, or directly in a predefined area of ROM. Moon is equipped with a single port with an extensive pre-fetch queue to enable the execution of mul- tiple instructions per cycle. Moon also has an instruction-fetch- er that looks ahead along the bytecode stream to determine if stack opera- tions can be optimized. Moon oper- ates at 32 bi ts in te rnall y, but allows a user-programmable input/ output bus width . Moon is retargetable for program- mable logic, Goodson added. As of now, Vulcan has Moon up and running in the lab at lOOMHz in a 0.35-micron processor. First silicon of 0.25-micron devices are on the way and should be ready shortly. Goodson would not provide hard pe rformance figures (he claimed the company has- n ' t fini shed benchmarks ye t) but characterized Moon's performance as "an order of magnitude increase" over currentJava chips. More specifi- cally, he said he expects that Moon will be eight to 20 times faster than its competition. Stalwarts fight back In the brave new embedded world, even old stalwarts like NEC, ARM, and ARC continue to reinvent tl1em- selves in a bid to keep pace with new applications. ARM, fo r one, is adding a hefty new suite of instruction set additions. ARC, too, has recently made design-win inroads in many markets. Over at NEC, the company has repositioned itself from a supplier of piece-parts to a vendor whose offer- ings encompass cores, SoCs, and the addition of new, DSP-like instructions in to their standard embedded parts. According to Karl Auker, assistant general manager for the VR micro- processor at NEC Electronics, the SDRAM Controller PCI Controller Peripheral Bus Controller HDLC S-Port l Processor Local Bus (PLB) 111 0 3: ::t: N MAL 64-Bit MAL -6-~ .,. n ::> 0 -6ยท !!. to ~ .. .. 0 ..__. S! .,. .... "" ;:;: a, Arbiter :r ._... UART UART ++ IIC ~ GPIO Embedded Systems Programming NOVEMBER 2000 151

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