ADN Issue 2, November 2013

Contents

Regular Technical & Research Papers

Fadi Obeidat
Embedded Processor Selection Using FPGA-based Profiling
Fadi Obeidat* and Robert H. Klenke**
* Intel Corporation, Austin, TX, USA
** ECE Department, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
ADN Issue 2, Nov 2013
Abstract:

In embedded systems, modeling the performance of off-the-shelf processors is very important to enable the designer to estimate the capability of each candidate processor against the target application. Considering the large number of available embedded processors, the need has increased for building an infrastructure by which it is possible to estimate the performance of a given application on a certain processor with a minimum of time and resources. This paper presents the use a Xilinx MicroBlaze softcore processor as a reference model augmented by FPGA-based profiling mechanism to extract the functional statistics that characterize the target application. Linear regression analysis is implemented for mapping the application functional behavior on the reference model (MicroBlaze) to the performance of the candidate processors.

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Life at Broadcom after Moore’s Law ends
Rick Merritt
Embedded, EE Times
From our perspective [this situation] gives us more breathing room to be clever about design. Most people run to the current process node as fast as they can. That's going to change. Instead of running to the next node, you will come up with new architectures and circuit designs, and that will create more opportunities on the design side, bringing more value to a company like Broadcom.

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Qualcomm vs. Broadcom: Race on China’s BeiDou Nav System
Junko Yoshida
EE Times
China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system has become the biggest bone of contention in the Qualcomm vs. Broadcom competition to deliver more accurate positioning information to mobile devices.

Qualcomm announced late last month its support for the BeiDou constellation within Qualcomm IZat location solutions. The San Diego-based company revealed its collaboration with Samsung to launch the first wave of BeiDou-enhanced consumer smartphones.

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Carriers Switch on Small Cells Slowly
Rick Merritt
EE Times
As many as 11.5 million small-cell base stations could be deployed by 2018, up from just 168,000 today, according to a status report from the Small Cell Forum. The trade group gave the update and released guidelines on using the systems in businesses as part of a regular meeting in Dallas today.

Small-cell base stations are seen as an inexpensive way to add capacity quickly to cellular networks swamped with mobile data from the rise of smartphones and tablets.

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Which is More Important -- Technology or Marketing?
Shenxin(Nicolas) Xu
Insights
Some people argue that the key for start-up is marketing, aka, searching for product-market fit, while other people argue the key is really making good product. All you need to do is make a great product.

This reminds me of a joke about the military. When the general asks a solider what is important in army, the solider doesn't say combat training or better weapon, but he said "women". Why? Because there is no women in the army. The moral of this story is people tend to think what they don't have is important.

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Meticom: Bridging FPGAs & MIPI-Enabled Devices
Al Gharakhanian
EE Times
MIPI, which stands for Mobile Industry Processor Interface, was originally conceived as a low-power interface intended to interconnect functional units (e.g., camera sensors and displays) within handsets.

This has led to an interesting dilemma. Since MIPI as an interface was never intended to serve non-mobile applications, interfacing to FPGAs was never made a priority. This makes perfect sense, since the majority of FPGAs are not well-suited for use in high-volume mobile devices. On the other hand, FPGAs are quite common in medical, industrial, and automotive applications. The end result is that the lure of using low-cost MIPI-enabled devices and the need to connect them to FPGAs has forced designers to look for bridging solutions.

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