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Getting hands-on about embedded multicore development

Author: Bernard Cole   Date: 2014-04-24

While multicore has become the norm in high end embedded and mobile platform computing that does not mean it is easy especially as the variety of implementations now encompasses both homogeneous and heterogeneous designs and an array many-core devices.

Certainly, both hardware and software vendors have come up with a variety of tools and building blocks to make the transition to the next step in your design - from one core to several, from several to many, from homogeneous to heterogeneous - but even making the right choices about tools is not easy.

In its ninth year, the Multicore Developers Conference to be held May 7-8 in Santa Clara, Calif. is still the place to go to get a good running start in your first, or next, multicore design.

According to MDC Chairman Markus Levy, there’s still much more to learn about the ways in which system developers can utilize the full benefits of multicore devices.

"A large percentage of this learning relates directly to application-specific design characteristics, whether it be for smart phones, networking and LTE equipment, automobiles, or supersonic fighter jets," he said. "On the other hand, regardless of the application, there are many general techniques and concepts that would benefit every system developer.

"Furthermore, with such an abundance of available multicore solutions, it has become ever so difficult to select the right product to do the job."

In a number of hardware and software vendors exhibiting their solutions to many of the problems faced in multicore designs, there will be a comprehensive agenda of 25 papers and classes on multicore use in such embedded applications as Android, automotive, medical, military/aerospace, security, smartphones, networking and telecommunications.

Giving one of four keynotes at the conference (ME1142) will be Amit Rohatgi , Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Imagination Technologies. "While heterogeneous architectures have been a reality in many mobile, desktop and server chips for years," he said.,"the ability to dynamically and intelligently allocate tasks and resources among processing resources remains an as-yet unfulfilled ambition."

In his talk he will try to answer such questions as in their drive toward creating the needed standard APIs for heterogeneous processing are proponents considering the area and power constraints of high volume consumer markets such as mobile, tablets and even wearables? What will really drive cross-market adoption of heterogeneous processing and related standards?

In "Multicore Certification – A New Era in Software Design (ME1087)," Stuart Fisher, Technical Marketing Director, SYSGO, will discuss the need for dafety and security certification and how multicore is changing the playing field. "There are many issues associated with certifying software, whether it be for security or safety, and we will look at how these differ and yet have many similarities," he said. "Using a real world use case, we will explore how one solution has achieved the world first multicore certification for safety within the rail industry and how that experience can be leveraged in other markets."

In "Standards-based Programming Models for Heterogeneous Systems (ME1123)," Andrew Richards CEO, Codeplay Software will go into detail on how the new SYCL provisional specification from Khronos builds an easy-to-use C++ layer on top of the open standard, OpenCL. " SYCL is still a very new technology, having been released in March as a provisional spec to enable feedback from developers," he said. "There will be opportunities for the audience to provide input into its future direction."

Other topics at the conference will include: hardware/software codesign, prototyping and debugging, multicore sensibility, network challenges for multicore and the SHIM multicore tool interface.