I find it relatively easy to wrap my brain around the concept of an operating system running on a single processor. But what about a system containing multiple heterogeneous CPU and DSP cores?
I'm a hardware design engineer myself, so I tend not to lose too much sleep worrying about things like how a real-time operating system (RTOS) can be made to work on a system containing multiple heterogeneous CPU and DSP cores? (Just in case you were wondering, the word "heterogeneous" comes from a Greek word meaning "composed of parts having dissimilar characteristics or properties.")
As it happens, however, I've recently been looking at different trends in computing – including multi-core systems and reconfigurable computing – as part of which I ran headfirst into the mire of operating systems.
One very interesting company that caught my eye was Quadros Systems, whose RTXC real-time operating system is targeted toward embedded DSP and multiprocessing applications featuring heterogeneous mixtures of 8, 16, 32-bit CPUs and DSPs from Analog Devices, ARM, Hitachi, IBM, Infineon, Intel, Motorola, and Texas Instruments.
A key feature of RTXC is its small memory footprint. A typical embedded RTOS provides 70 to 80 services and occupies anywhere between 25 and 150 KB. By comparison, a full-up version of RTXC provides around 350 services and occupies only 30 KB. Furthermore, RTXC is extremely scalable through a special configuration utility; for example, it can be incrementally pared down to as little as 2 KB by cutting out unwanted services (although admittedly you wouldn’t be able to do much with this 2K version).
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