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Microprocessor is a hardware device which incorporates the
functions of central processing unit on a single integrated circuit. It is a
multipurpose, programmable device that accepts digital data as input processes it
according to instructions stored in its memory and provides results as output. It
contains arithmetic and logic unit (ALU), Instruction decode and control unit,
Instruction register, Program counter (PC), clock circuit, reset circuit and registers.
General-purpose microprocessors in personal computers are used for
computation, text editing, multimedia display, and communication over
the Internet. Many more microprocessors are part of embedded systems, providing
digital control over myriad objects from appliances to automobiles to cellular
phones and industrial process control. In microprocessor architecture, the memory
bus is a single bus that will carry both the address of the data to be accessed, and
then will carry the value of the data. Putting both signals on the same bus, at
different times is a technique known as time division multiplexing.

Microcontroller is a small single integrated circuit containing a
processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals. Program
memory in the form of NOR flash or OTP ROM is also often included on chip, as
well as a typically small amount of RAM. By only including the features specific
to the task control, cost is relatively low. A typical microcontroller has bit
manipulation instructions, easy and direct access to I/O, and quick and efficient
interrupt processing.
When an embedded system has a microcontroller unit that has all the
functional blocks including program as well as data memory available on a chip is
called an embedded microcontroller.
For example, 8051 having Program & Data Memory, I/O Ports, Serial
Communication, Counters and Timers and Interrupt Control logic on the chip is an
embedded microcontroller.
When an embedded system has a microcontroller unit that has
not all the functional blocks available on a chip is called an external memory
microcontroller. In external memory microcontroller, all or part of the memory
units are externally interfaced using an interfacing circuit called the glue circuit.
For example, 8031 has no program memory on the chip is an external memory
Microcontrollers are used in mobile phones, automobiles, CD/DVD
Players, Washing Machines, Cameras, Modems and Keyboard Controllers,
Security Alarms, Electronic Measurement Instruments and Microwave Oven.
Microcontrollers are cheap and very small in size. Therefore they can
be embedded on any device. Programming microcontrollers is not complex.
Simulators can be used on a embedded project which minimize purchasing
components and chips.
ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit):
An application specific integrated circuit, integrated circuit customized
for a particular use, rather than intended for general-purpose use.
For example, a chip designed to run in a digital voice recorder is an
ASIC. Application-specific standard products (ASSPs) are intermediate between
ASICs and industry standard integrated circuits like the 7400 or the 4000 series.
As feature sizes have shrunk and design tools improved over the years,
the maximum complexity possible in an ASIC has grown from 5,000 gates to over
100 million. Modern ASICs often include entire microprocessors, memory blocks
including ROM, RAM, EEPROM, Flash and other large building blocks.
Such an ASIC is often termed a SoC (system-on-chip). Designers of
digital ASICs use a hardware description language (HDL), such
as Verilog or VHDL, to describe the functionality of ASICs.
Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) are the modern-day technology
for building a breadboard or prototype from standard parts; programmable logic
blocks and programmable interconnects allow the same FPGA to be used in many
different applications. For smaller designs and/or lower production volumes,
FPGAs may be more cost effective than an ASIC design even in production.
The non-recurring engineering (NRE) cost of an ASIC can run into the millions of

ASIP (Application Specific Instruction Set Processor):
An application-specific instruction-set processor (ASIP) is a
component used in system-on-a-chip design. The instruction set of an ASIP is
tailored to benefit a specific application. This specialization of the core provides a
tradeoff between the flexibility of a general purpose CPU and the performance of
an ASIC.
Some ASIPs have a configurable instruction set. Usually, these cores
are divided into two parts: static logic which defines a minimum ISA (instruction-
set architecture) and configurable logic which can be used to design new
instructions. The configurable logic can be programmed either in the field in a
similar fashion to an FPGA or during the chip synthesis.

Digital Signal Processing deals with algorithms for handling large
chunk of data. This branch identified itself as a separate subject in 70s when
engineers thought about processing the signals arising from nature in the discrete
form. Development of Sampling Theory followed and the design of Analog-to-
Digital converters gave an impetus in this direction. The contemporary applications
of digital signal processing was mainly in speech followed by Communication,
Seismology, Biomedical etc. Later on the field of Image processing emerged as
another important area in signal processing.
A general-purpose processor is a processor that is not tied to or
integrated with a particular language or piece of software. A macro processor is a
program that copies a stream of text from one place to another, making a
systematic set of replacements as it does so. Macro processors are often embedded
in other programs, such as assemblers and compilers. Sometimes they are
standalone programs that can be used to process any kind of text. Macro processors
have been used for language expansion defining new language constructs that can
be expressed in terms of existing language components, for systematic text
replacements that require decision making, and for text reformatting.