General-Purpose Embedded Cores

  • Patrick R. Schaumont


The most successful programmable component on silicon is the micro-processor. Fueled by a well-balanced mix of efficient implementations, flexibility, and tool support, microprocessors have grown into a cornerstone of electronic design. This chapter reviews the major features of microprocessor architectures, and in particular of RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processors. The topic of microprocessors is a very broad one; entire books are devoted to its discussion. The objectives of this chapter are more modest. Our objective is to build insight into the relation between a C program and its execution on a micro-processor. This insight is crucial for hardware-software codesign. Indeed, the interaction between custom hardware coprocessors and software will always proceed through the microprocessor. The low-level behavior of software on a microprocessor therefore plays a fundamental role in the efficiency of a system that uses hardware as well as software components. The chapter covers four different aspects of C program execution on RISC processors: the architectural and behavioral features of RISC processors, the implementation and low-level organization of C programs, the role and use of compiler tools, and the role and the use of simulation tools. Much more can be said on micro-processors. The Further Reading section at the end of this chapter provides additional suggestions for self-study.


Clock Cycle Cache Line Memory Hierarchy Cache Memory Object File 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick R. Schaumont
    • 1
  1. 1.Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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