Multi-processor computers have existed for some time, but only within the last few years have engineers had the opportunity to buy off-the-shelf chips with more than one processor or "core." These devices come in two varieties; symmetrical and asymmetrical. The first group provides multiple "clones" of the same core CPU, thus the term symmetrical. The second group includes devices that put different types of CPUs, DSPs, and accelerators in a system on a chip. I'll concentrate on the former multi-core technologies.
Traditionally, precision full wave rectifiers1 used in a range of instrumentation applications have employed between 7 and 9 discrete circuit components. These are typically 2 op-amps, 2 diodes and 3 to 5 resistors. This article will show that an alternative approach, using a standard current monitor IC, reduces the component count to just five and greatly simplifies circuit configuration and produces a more elegant overall solution.
The electronics distributor plays an important role in the electronic components industry, selling engineers the components and subsystems they need to use in their designs. A growing number of distributors also provide value-added services such as design support to their customers. With the combined pressure of the shrinking design cycle and expanded technology availability, it’s important for engineers to be able to talk to someone who can help them throughout the design process. We recently cold-called a number of major distributors without identifying ourselves as press and simply asked what design services they perform.
Change is a key word in our industry. Technology has progressed so far so fast it is amazing to see how far we have come in such a relatively short time. We are swept downstream in the relentless river of development, buffeted by currents from so many quarters the pattern seems random. Disruptive technologies shove us in one direction as convergence tips us in another...
Failures of semiconductor ICs are typically due to overvoltage or overcurrent for a given junction temperature. This overvoltage can be caused by an external factor or an uncontrolled switching inductance. The overcurrent failure can be caused by excess junction temperature due to excessive power losses and a poor thermal path or an abnormal load current. It is typical for a failure report to state Electrical Over Stress(EOS).
Overall, the latest generations of FPGAs provide the performance engineers need for new designs. And FPGA vendors complement performance with power-saving techniques. In many cases, FPGA design tools consistently aim to implement low-power circuits, but engineers can select performance vs. power tradeoffs as well. Most of those low-power changes occur within the design tools and do not cause engineers to rework their code. But before anyone tries to reduce power, they must understand where the power gets burned. It makes no sense to reduce power consumption in an area that doesn’t burn that much power to begin with.
What technology trends do you feel will dominate the development of next-generation displays?
Computationally intensive DSP functions often require hardware acceleration. Increasingly, designers are implementing their DSP algorithms in FPGAs because they offer better performance than DSP processors. Benchmarks show that FPGAs execute turbocoding, GPS correlation, H264 and other DSP functions much more quickly than DSPs.
The growing multimedia capabilities of consumer electronics are placing new demands on bulk data transfer between devices. Now WiMedia-standard Ultra Wideband (UWB) is entering the mainstream in laptops and computer peripherals, so consumers can easily transfer files without complex network configuration, and without cables.
If you have not recently--or ever--attended the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, you owe it to yourself and your company to go. This conference and its many exhibits give you opportunities to talk with colleagues and technical experts. Unlike some shows, vendors send their engineering gurus to ESC, so when you stop at an exhibit you can talk about hardware and software with fellow engineers who speak your languages. You will get a taste of some of the products introduced at ESC in this column. Our online column includes information about more new products announced at the show.
Every special-interest group has their own language, and only part of the reason is to exclude others from the conversation. Jargon also helps define common terms necessary to conduct business or discuss philosophies and procedures within the group. Engineering is a very special discipline, and EEs are a further esoteric subset with its own plethora of acronyms, slang and terms.
A bit of C code that runs on a microprocessor does not create a software-defined radio (SDR). Most SDRs use a traditional signal-sampling technique, followed by much software massaging of data. But semiconductor companies can now put more of the analog signal-handling elements on a chip. This column provides an update on both techniques.
What is the balance, for the engineer, between an environmentally efficient vehicle in operation, and the other aspects of manufacturing, material, and their environmental cost and impact?
Design is a balance struck between style, functionality, technology, and construction (often as a compromise). But what makes a design “elegant”? The iPod is inarguably an elegant design, but then again so is the standard wooden mousetrap. This month we’re running some articles on design and comments on “elegant” design. Let us know if you agree with the authors or add comments of your own at www.ecnmag.com/designtalk-elegant-design.aspx
One issue facing design engineers is echnology selection. Choosing a device today is more than just an exercise in packaging and pin out, there are often multiple technologies and/or methodologies to choose from. Here is a collection of viewpoints from a group of engineers on how they select tech.