Bandwidth demands redefine interconnect technology

Bandwidth demands redefine interconnect technology

As high-performance embedded devices stretch the limits of technology, subsystem interconnection strategies must be constantly updated to match the growing data transfer requirements. Medical instrumentation, military systems, communications installations, and industrial automation are just a few areas where soaring bandwidth, increased processing requirements, and escalating application complexity continue to expand the interconnection technology envelope.

Embedded designers are using the latest high-speed interconnects to not only boost data rates, but also dynamically optimize performance, bypass failed subsystems, and coexist with legacy components. Although several different architectures still vie for universal acceptance, there is little doubt that high-speed interconnect technology has become a necessary element of most high-bandwidth embedded systems.

In the Silicon section of this issue of , industry experts bring you up-to-date on several high-speed interconnect standards that could be a part of your next embedded design. Sam Fuller, founder and executive director of the Trade Association, explains how the RapidIO architecture has been optimized for interconnect applications where high reliability, low latency, and deterministic operation are required. In addition, Rick Wietfeldt, chair of the Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance Technical Steering Group, and Al Yanes, president and chairman of the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG), answer questions on new techniques and methods to scale PCI Express performance for mobile applications. Continuing the high-speed connectivity topic, Craig Wiley, chairman of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), discusses the latest updates to the Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) standard.

This month’s Software section highlights how one of the hottest Operating System (OS) platforms –  – can be deployed in one of the hottest market segments in embedded design – In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI). As automotive operational and entertainment systems transition from a few traditional in-dash components to individual multimedia and information clusters for the driver and each passenger, the corresponding burden skyrockets. Designers must integrate GPS navigation, cellular communications, and automotive controls with multiple audio and video systems operating simultaneously. In the near future, vehicles will be permanently connected to the Internet, giving developers access to real-time  data services, telematics, and video/audio streaming. Andrew Patterson, business development director for Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division, presents the advantages of developing these evolving vehicle-based applications using the Android OS.

Along with interconnect and software selections, embedded designers must also choose a processor architecture that maximizes performance while reducing power and cost. In the Strategies section, technology experts examine the benefits of the growing trend toward multiple processing elements. In that vein, AMD’s Frank Altschuler, senior product manager, and Jonathan Gallmeier, senior member of the technical staff, explore using a mix of CPU and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) elements. In a Q&A, Mark Brewer, president and CEO of Typesafe, presents the advantages of general-purpose programming languages like Java and Scala for embedded development, along with the implications for multicore platforms. Concluding the Strategies section, David Sonnier, technical fellow in system architecture for the Networking Solutions Group of LSI Corporation, evaluates multicore System-on-Chip (SoC) architectures for the next-generation communications infrastructure.

The hardware and software topics delivered in this issue of Embedded Computing Design are on the cutting edge of today’s embedded technology, as are the products and services showcased in our special advertising section seeking to answer the question of “What’s Hot in 2013 in Embedded?” With a new year upon us, we can expect continued development of performance-enhancing tools, plus a few new innovations that could completely change your design direction. Stay tuned.

If you have ideas for future articles and coverage that would help in your design efforts, please let us know. We are always interested in contributed technical articles or videos that would be of interest to other embedded designers. Contributed articles are a great way to expose your technology or expertise to the embedded community, so if you have an idea, send along an e-mail with a short abstract.