Get rid of the shackles of hardware and usher in t

2022-08-13
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Get rid of the shackles of hardware such as computer components and usher in the era of softening design

processors in traditional solutions

it is natural to regard processors as the core of embedded systems. Since performance and peripherals can determine the overall function that the finished product can achieve, it is not difficult to understand why this view dominates most project designs. However, this idea is not perfect, and may soon become obsolete in the face of current market conditions and trends

placing the processor in such a central position means that the correct choice must be made before everything starts and the whole design process must be consistent. This situation will make all future decisions closely linked to the physical design part. In addition, it also means that a fixed implementation path is predetermined. This creates a platform that lacks flexibility and is inconvenient to make necessary changes at a later stage. When there are new and unforeseen market conditions, there are undoubtedly many risks from the design point of view

the development of the new generation IC has been struggling in the current economic difficulties. For embedded design, if it is subject to the architecture that cannot be changed or upgraded in the future, it is no exaggeration to say that it may make the project in trouble. The traditional method is to put the development of hardware platform first, and then build in and lock the software components; This leads to the safety illusion that the product launch process is regarded as an important element of product differentiation. However, the reality is that the unique value of products (such as device intelligence or 'IP') will be firmly constrained by the rigid platform. In this case, it will become the most difficult and costly design element to change. It is widely used in household appliances, communications, medical treatment, automotive electronics, solar photovoltaic, wind power and other fields, and the performance indicators of the whole series of products have reached the leading level at home and abroad. Therefore, relying solely on this method will exclude other most needed different options

the design principle of relying on gradual and phased incremental upgrading is likely to soon be replaced by technologies with higher design flexibility that can help the company win in market changes. They are likely to be solutions that provide more choices, because these solutions focus on higher-level system abstraction technologies that are easy to change, and are less risky than methods that rely solely on selecting processors. As long as you look at recent industry trends, you can imagine what it would be like to focus on higher-level abstractions

get rid of processor centered soft design

the trend is to develop processor and architecture level soft design. With the continuous integration of the boundaries between hardware and software, design no longer relies solely on hardware. The development of hardware technology itself is also contributing to this trend

low cost, high-capacity FPGA has the potential to change our design method. It can transform the components previously constructed into devices as physical hardware into programmable components. This focus on 'software design' in the development of electronic products has rich implications. It can not only separate the intelligence of devices from the programmed physical hardware, but also avoid the defects that have been inseparable from hardware dependent solutions for a long time, such as: it is difficult to modify them in the later stage of development

as an embedded platform using soft processors, FPGA is rapidly becoming the basis of a multifunctional and reconfigurable hardware platform. Due to the continuous improvement of their functions and the continuous reduction of their budgets, they become more and more popular to put the tested artifacts on the workbench. The software design of the extended architecture platform includes not only the functions previously performed by hardware, but also processors. By introducing as much hardware as possible into the programmable field, we can study various conditions that allow repeated experiments and assumptions without increasing the design time. Because the concept can be verified immediately, engineers can clearly understand and see the products they have developed with their own eyes, and take this as the physical witness of their design ideas. In this way, they can try different ways that can reduce costs without sticking to any specific implementation methods

another advantage is that the software design can be carried out before the hardware platform design. The software design can continue until the hardware design is completed, and even after it is delivered to the customer. The intellectual property rights programmed in the soft design system will soon become the most valuable part of the design, and will continue to improve. It will bring a high degree of flexibility of the architecture and smaller circuit boards with stronger applicability, and bring great advantages of great significance to large enterprises at present. Designers can make trade-offs by comparing the performance advantages of different FPGAs without changing their design and without any constraints

interestingly, the software centric approach to electronic systems is even more meaningful than the software itself. As long as we deepen this idea a little, we can clearly understand that not only software can be upgraded, but also hardware can be upgraded, and can be upgraded after delivery to customers

get rid of the shackles of hardware

embedding IP into the system in a programmable way, rather than curing it on the production board, will bring great advantages to the embedded design. Due to the built-in programmability, we can transfer many complexities of the system to the place where it resides 14 Data sampling frequency: the software layer of the high-speed sampling frequency manager can be selected according to the user's experimental requirements. This software layer, which is essentially a hardware wrapper, can act as configurable hardware - as the processor interface between memory and peripherals

in an ideal design environment, this software layer can perfectly combine the matching software compiler with the pre validated embedded IP library. In this way, an embedded development system with 'vendor neutrality' can be created, which is directly associated with the schematic design and circuit board development stages

simple FPGA reprogramming designed to modify the hardware wrapper enables engineers to replace the processor without modifying other parts of the system hardware. The obvious advantage of this method is that the system starts from a processor, and then can be upgraded to faster devices when performance needs. Now we can develop the key software IP composed of programmable hardware and embedded software independently of the hardware platform, so as to get rid of the traditional technical problems caused by the need to develop physical hardware first

because low-level design problems can be solved by the design system itself, we can turn our attention to the use of advanced acquisition interfaces to develop the core functional elements of the design. Even HDL input can give way to simpler embedded schematic design that can improve the level of design abstraction, such as C. Software and hardware engineers can master the design process that used to rely entirely on processors and hardware experts without retraining

adopting the above method can improve the advantages of project modification and efficiency, because the focus is no longer on selecting processors and managing all the low-level detail factors related to them. The inherent complexity of traditional design methods, such as circuit board design, has been appropriately reduced, making it easier to manage, and the design focus has once again turned to product differentiation and innovation, without caring about simple 'survival factors'! Transfer energy and resources to higher-level design activities with real value

the perfect integration of software and hardware will become an internal part of the latest unified design field. All that is needed is to support a design environment that can make full use of a single, unified design scheme of large programmable devices

tools and technologies that can create value

to realize the separation of design functions and processors, we need a design platform in which hardware is no longer the basic factor. Ideally, all design areas should appear as a single unified process. Then there can be real cross regional design cooperation, because the obstacles between processors and software have disappeared. This will greatly simplify the task of transferring design elements between software and hardware

there is no doubt that continuous exploration among many choices will create a design environment with built-in reconfigurable hardware platform for the key implementation, debugging and upgrading stages of the development process. We can freely try various devices of the supplier and replace i/o hardware inside and outside the software. All necessary tools for all aspects of electronic product design will include: processor independent embedded coding and debugging, hybrid schematic and HDL based FPGA design and synthesis, and comprehensive PCB layout. Software engineers only need to have basic knowledge of hardware to use this environment, while hardware engineers can focus on designing unique design components and prototyping them, because both software and hardware can be upgraded

the strategy of simplifying the design process by raising the abstraction above the level of the processor is a feasible way to develop embedded design solutions with higher flexibility. In the face of economic difficulties, the increasingly complex industry is facing unprecedented pressure of ideological innovation. The choice of processor is very important at any time. However, now is the time for us to make major design decisions and use the unified design process of the general trend to achieve greater innovation

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