As part of the redesign of EETimes,
in which we brought our Designlines, Embedded.com and Planet Analog all
Design, we took the opportunity to address a fundamental shift in what
digital signal processing is all about.
In his short 2003 overview of the history
of DSP, Forward Concepts’ Will Strauss takes you from the early 70’s with
TRW and AMI, right through to early 1980 when Bell Labs and NEC introduced what
he classifies as the first ‘true’ single-chip DSPs: the DSP-1 and the uPD7721,
It’s an interesting summary, but at the end he makes a critical observation,
“And DSP technology is also embedded in a host of RISCs, ASICs, ASSPs, and
FPGAs that constitute another $10 billion DSP-based chip market.”
That was prescient, for over the next four or five years, DSP would move from
being conceptualized as a standalone processor with dedicated groupies devoted
to the art, to an emphasis on the end application and the signal processing
required to meet its needs, regardless of the underlying architecture.
This was evinced already at that time by the emergence of the MSA architecture,
a combination RISC/DSP that now forms the underpinning of ADI’s Blackfin. Add
in the ARM DSP extensions, the moves to combine FPGA+DSP and FPGA+RISC, and it
becomes clear that it’s not about the platform, it’s the application, and
whatever combination of processing techniques that are required to get the job
It is with this in mind that we’ve changed to the Signal Processing Designline,
which more accurately reflects our emphasis on bringing to you the latest
technologies, techniques, products and algorithms to help you get your
processing needs met, regardless of underlying architectures, while also
looking at what opportunities are out there for you to apply your skills.
We'll also be asking you to be a more active participant in what is, in the end, your site. You'll have plenty of opportunities for doing so as we bring in the latest commentaries from the experts in the field, including many of you. If you have an article you'd like to bring to life here, let me know. If you have a blog or column you think is worth sharing, I'm all ears.
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But is the firmware and application that make or break the deal. Until there is a framework that is smoother for implementation, it will take some time for DSP based uC to take over all uC, I am just saying...
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.