LONDON Aspex Technology Ltd. a startup fabless semiconductor company pioneering a form of single-instruction, multiple data parallel processing known as associative string processing has decided to restrict its efforts to wired broadband and third-generation (3G) wireless applications.
Aspex (Uxbridge, England) is awaiting first silicon on its Linedancer-4K chip, which includes 4,096 associative string processors, but the company does have a development board for the Linedancer-4K based on four smaller Linedancer-1K chips made by Atmel Corp. Aspex has also begun to engage with customers in the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) market, particularly for central office equipment, said John Lancaster, Aspex president and chief executive officer.
"Most broadband solutions are a mixture of software running on a DSP, and dedicated hardware. We can run it all as software on our machine. What's more, we can do more than 25 ports of ADSL on a single chip, full-rate ADSL," said Lancaster. So in a market that is looking for 24-port cards, we reckon we can offer a cost of less than $5 a port and one-third the power consumption per port of other solutions."
Aspex would similarly concentrate on basestation applications in 3G, Lancaster said, which could make use of the extreme processing power he claims for Linedancer-4K. He is also looking to make alliances with other companies in the development of application-specific development boards in those areas. But Aspex would not try to extend into wireless LAN or Bluetooth applications, Lancaster said.
The company's concentration on just two forms of broadband processing comes despite the fact that the architecture was originally applied to graphics processing, 3-D visualization and volumetric modeling. Key members of the Aspex development team spent much of the 1990s applying the architecture along those lines for the U.S Department of Defense.
"We've worked out [that] there are at least 25 distinct markets our technology could be applied to," said Graham Dodgson, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Aspex. "We can't chase all those markets; we have to concentrate and focus, to develop the networks of partners and the system knowledge we need."