Signal Processing DesignLine Blog
You would think that BIOS design is a boring topic, but it turns out that it is a diverse and complicated field.
My most surprising briefing at ESC was from BIOS supplier Phoenix. You would think that BIOS design is a boring topic, but it turns out that it is a diverse and complicated field. For example, telecom infrastructure applications demand five nines reliability, which leaves you with only five minutes of downtime per year. The only way you can achieve this goal is to make sure your BIOS loads rapidly. In the case of Phoenix BIOSes, the typical boot time is only 73ms.
Another interesting example comes from the casino gaming industry. Casinos are understandably paranoid about their machines being hacked—after all, millions of dollars are at stake! Thus, a gaming machine BIOS includes a challenge mechanism to make sure the software is running on legit hardware. That way, a hacker who steals the software won't be able to probe it for weaknesses.
Phoenix has lots of other interesting stories to tell, and it's worth checking them out. I think you'll be surprised at just how much that little BIOS does.