Automated Generation of System-Specific Processors

Wednesday, September 22, 1999 - 17:30
TH 331
Chris Rowen President and CEO, Tensilica, Inc.

Processors have long played a role in embedded systems design, but fundamental changes in the economics, technology and complexity of systems are making processors even more central. New engines for protocol, signal and image processing in communciation and consumer applications must support new data-types and algorithms and yet must be radically smaller and more power efficient than previous 32b processor solutions. Tensilica has designed the XtensaTM processor generator to allow chip architects to quickly discover and describe the key instruction, memory, and interface functions required by their applications. The generator produces a complete hardware design, verification and software development environment for that custom processor less than one hour. The resulting designs consistently execute applications faster, dissipate less power and use less code than previous processors. Automatic processor generation significantly improves application efficiency, eases process portability and simplifies integration into a "system-on-a-chip" design. This talk with discuss the processor generator tool and results for several application examples implemented in commodity ASIC CMOS technology.


Dr. Chris Rowen is President and Chief Executive Officer of Tensilica. He founded Tensilica in July 1997 to develop automatic generation of application-specific microprocessors for high-volume communication and consumer systems. He was a pioneer in the development of RISC architecture at Stanford with Prof. John Hennessy. He helped start MIPS Computer Systems Inc. in 1984, and served as Vice President for Microprocessor Development. Most recently, he was Vice President and General Manager of the Design Reuse Group of Synopsys Incorporated.