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Embedded Systems Introduction



1. Embedded Systems Design, Steve Heath, Elsevier 2. Embedded Systems Design, Frank Vahid & Tony Givargis, John wiley 3. Fundamentals of embedded software, Daniel W lewis, Pearson education

4. Embedded Microcomputer Systems, Jonathan W Valavano, Brooks/cole, Thomson Learning

5. Embedded Systems Design, Oliver Bailey, Dreamtech 6. Embedded Real-time Systems, K V K K Prasad, Dreamtech

Outline Embedded systems overview

What are they?

Design challenge optimizing design metrics Technologies

Processor technologies IC technologies Design technologies

Embedded systems overview

When we talk of microprocessors we think of computers as they are everywhere Computers often mean
Desktop PCs Laptops Mainframes Servers

But theres yet another type of computing system

Far more common...

Embedded systems overview

Embedded computing systems

Computers/ microprocessors are in here...

(Micro)processors are embedded within electronic devices, equipment, appliances Hard to define - any computing Toys, mobile phones, system other than a desktop kitchen appliances, computer even pens Billions of units produced yearly, versus millions of Many times more desktop units Perhaps 50 per household and processors used in each of them , per automobile though they cost These processors make these devices much less sophisticated, versatile and inexpensive

A short list of embedded systems

Anti-lock brakes Auto-focus cameras Automatic teller machines Automatic toll systems Automatic transmission Avionic systems Battery chargers Camcorders Cell phones Cell-phone base stations Cordless phones Cruise control Curbside check-in systems Digital cameras Disk drives Electronic card readers Electronic instruments Electronic toys/games Factory control Fax machines Fingerprint identifiers Home security systems Life-support systems Medical testing systems Modems MPEG decoders Network cards Network switches/routers On-board navigation Pagers Photocopiers Point-of-sale systems Portable video games Printers Satellite phones Scanners Smart ovens/dishwashers Speech recognizers Stereo systems Teleconferencing systems Televisions Temperature controllers Theft tracking systems TV set-top boxes VCRs, DVD players Video game consoles Video phones Washers and dryers

And the list goes on and on

Embedded systems A microprocessor based system that is built to control a function(s) of a system and is designed not to be programmed by the user. (controller) User could select the functionality but cannot define the functionality. Embedded system is designed to perform one or limited number of functions, may be with choices or options. PCs provide easily accessible methodologies, HW & SW that are used to build Embedded systems

Why did they become popular? Replacement for discrete logic-based circuits Functional upgradability ?, easy maintenance upgrades Improves the performance of mechanical systems through close control Protection of Intellectual property Replacement of Analogue circuits (DSPs)

What does an Embedded system consist of?

Processor Types, technologies, functionalities Memory how much, what types, organisation Peripherals/ I/O interfaces communicate with the user, external environment

Inputs and outputs / sensors & actuators Digital - binary, serial/parallel, Analogue, Displays and alarms, Timing devices
SW OS, application SW, initialisation, self check Algorithms

Path of electronic design Mechanical control systems- expensive & bulky Discrete electronic circuits fast but no flexibility

SW controlled circuits microprocessors and controllers slow, flexible

HW implementation of SW, HW & SW systems

Some Common Characteristics of Embedded Systems

Single-functioned Executes a single program, repeatedly Tightly-constrained Low cost, low power, small, fast, etc. Reactive and real-time Continually reacts to changes in the systems environment Must compute certain results in real-time without delay

Embedded system - digital camera

Digital camera chip CCD

CCD preprocessor A2D


Pixel coprocessor


JPEG codec



DMA controller

Display ctrl

Memory controller

ISA bus interface


LCD ctrl

Single-functioned -- always a digital camera Tightly-constrained -- Low cost, low power, small, fast Reactive and real-time -- only to a small extent

Design challenge optimizing design metrics

Obvious design goal: Construct an implementation with desired functionality Key design challenge: Simultaneously optimize numerous design metrics Design metric A measurable feature of a systems implementation Optimizing design metrics is a key challenge

Design challenge optimizing design metrics Common metrics

Unit cost: the monetary cost of manufacturing each
copy of the system, excluding NRE cost

NRE cost (Non-Recurring Engineering cost):

The one-time monetary cost of designing the system

Size: the physical space required by the system Performance: the execution time or throughput of
the system

Power: amount of power consumed by the system Flexibility: the ability to change the functionality of
the system without incurring heavy NRE cost

Design challenge optimizing design metrics

Common metrics (continued)

Time-to-prototype: the time needed to build a

working version of the system

Time-to-market: the time required to develop

a system to the point that it can be released and sold to customers

Maintainability: the ability to modify the

system after its initial release

Correctness, safety, many more

Design metric competition -- improving one may worsen others

Power Performance NRE cost Size

Expertise with both software and hardware is needed to optimize design metrics A designer must be comfortable with various technologies in order to choose the best for a given application and constraints

Digital camera chip A2D CCD preprocessor Pixel coprocessor D2A


JPEG codec DMA controller


Multiplier/Accum Display ctrl


Memory controller

ISA bus interface


LCD ctrl

Time-to-market: a demanding design metric

Time required to develop a product to the point it can be sold to customers Market window Period during which the product would have highest sales Average time-to-market constraint is about 8 months Delays can be costly

Revenue Time (months)

Losses Due to Delayed Market Entry

Simplified revenue model
Peak revenue Peak revenue from delayed entry
Market fall Delayed


Market rise

Product life = 2W, peak at W Time of market entry defines a triangle, representing market penetration Triangle area equals revenue
The difference between the on-time and delayed triangle areas

Revenues ($)



On-time entry

Delayed entry


Losses due to delayed market entry (cont.)

Area = 1/2 * base * height
Peak revenue

On-time = 1/2 * 2W * W Delayed = 1/2 * (W-D+W)*(W-D)

Revenues ($)


Peak revenue from delayed entry

Market fall

Percentage revenue loss = (D(3W-D)/2W2)*100% Try some examples Lifetime 2W=52 wks, delay D=4 wks (4*(3*26 4)/2*26^2) = 22% Lifetime 2W=52 wks, delay D=10 wks (10*(3*26 10)/2*26^2) = 50% Delays are costly!

Market rise


On-time entry

Delayed entry


NRE and Unit Cost Metrics


Unit cost: the monetary cost of manufacturing each copy of the system, excluding NRE cost NRE cost (Non-Recurring Engineering cost): The one-time monetary cost of designing the system total cost = NRE cost + unit cost * # of units per-product cost = total cost / # of units = (NRE cost / # of units) + unit cost

NRE and Unit Cost Metrics

NRE= Rs 20000, unit= Rs100 For 100 units
total cost = 20000 + 100*100 = 30000 per-product cost = 30,000/100 or 20000/100 + 100 = 300
Amortizing NRE cost over the units results in an additional Rs 200 per unit

NRE and unit cost metrics Compare technologies by costs -- best depends on quantity !
Technology A: NRE=Rs 5,000, unit=Rs 100 Technology B: NRE=Rs 1,00,000, unit=Rs 25 Technology C: NRE=Rs10,00,000, unit= Rs 2

The performance design metric

Widely-used measure of system, widelyabused Clock freq, instructions per second not good measures Digital camera example a user cares about how fast it processes images, not clock speed or instructions per second Latency (response time) Time between task start and end e.g., Cameras A and B process images in 0.25 & 0.3 seconds

The performance design metric

Throughput Tasks per second, e.g. Camera A processes 4 images & B say 8 images per second Throughput can be more than latency seems to imply due to concurrency, (by capturing a new image while previous image is being stored). Speedup of B over S = Bs performance / As performance Throughput speedup = 8/4 = 2

Three key embedded system technologies Technology

A manner of accomplishing a task, especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge

Three key technologies for embedded systems

Processor technology IC technology Design technology

Processor Technology

General purpose Processor

Microprocessors & microcontrollers Programming

Application specific Processor

Single purpose Processor

ASIP F P processor router

Specific processor

Processor technology
Processors vary in their customization for the problem at hand
Desired functionality

total = 0 for i = 1 to N loop total += M[i] end loop

Generalpurpose processor

Applicationspecific processor

Singlepurpose processor

Processor technology
The architecture of the computation engine used to implement a systems desired functionality Processor does not have to be programmable
Processor not equal to general-purpose processor
Control logic and State register IR PC

Register file General ALU

Control logic and State register IR PC

Registers Custom ALU

Controller Datapath
Control logic State register index total +

Data memory
Program memory

Data memory

Data memory

Program memory
Assembly code for: total = 0 for i =1 to

Assembly code for: total = 0 for i =1 to

General-purpose (software)

Application -specific

Single-purpose (hardware)

General-purpose processors
Programmable device used in a variety of applications
Also known as microprocessor
Control logic and State register IR PC

Data path Register file General ALU

Program memory General datapath with large register set and general ALU

User benefits
Low time-to-market and NRE costs High flexibility

Program memory
Assembly code for: total = 0 for i =1 to

Data memory

Pentium the most well-known, but there are hundreds of others

Single-purpose processors
Digital circuit designed to execute exactly one program
Ex. coprocessor, accelerator Features Contains only the components needed to execute a single program No program memory
Control logic


State register +

Data memory

Fast Low power Small size

Application-specific Instruction set Processors

Programmable processor optimized for a particular class of Controller Control applications having common logic and characteristics State
Compromise between generalpurpose and single-purpose processors Program memory Optimized datapath Special functional units

Registers Custom ALU Data memory




Program memory
Assembly code for: total = 0 for i =1 to

Some flexibility, good performance, size and power

IC technology
The manner in which a digital (gate-level) implementation is mapped onto an IC
IC: Integrated circuit, or chip IC technologies differ in their customization to a design ICs consist of numerous layers (perhaps 10 or more)
IC technologies differ with respect to who builds each layer & when

IC package IC source oxide channel drain

Silicon substrate

IC technology Building ICs

We can conceptualise ICs as being built in layers as under:

Build CMOS transistors Lowest substrate + doped regions with appropriate leads form CMOS transistors Build Gates - We can interconnect the transistors to make say universal NAND gate Build R T elements - We use NAND gates to create elements like decoders, multiplexers, ALUs, Registers, counters etc. These are called RT elements Build systems Select appropriate RT elements (get ready made or design your own) and interconnect to build the system

Problem decomposition - Design Systems

Build or construct

RT elements


CMOS Transistors

Concept of IPs or cores We could build a CMOS transistor in a number of ways we can change doping levels, doping materials, doping areas and depths and connectors used. Each combination produces a transistor with different characteristics input and output impedances, gain, freq response,Different firms or persons etc. Different firms or persons own these transistor designs. Similarly we could build gates using any of the above transistors and again we have many ways of building gates. Again these gates are owned by different firms or persons. The above arguments are good for the RT elements.

The choices for us are: 1. We could build all components from CMOS transistors to systems by ourselves. Time consuming 2. We take ready made transistor design from some one (basically in the form of mask) and build gates and upwards. It is faster than 1 above. Cost?

3. We use the gates designed by some one and build RT elements & systems . It is faster than 2 above. Cost?
4. We could use RT elements of others, including processors to build systems or bigger RT elements. It is faster than 3 above. The reusable components at all levels are CORES /IPs and could be incorporated into your designs

IC Technology

Fullcustom/ VLSI

Semicustom ASIC Build part only

PLD (Programmable Logic Device, FPGA) Build only top layer

Build every thing

IC technology Three types of IC technologies

Full-custom/VLSI Semi-custom ASIC (gate array and standard cell) PLD (Programmable Logic Device)

All layers are optimized for an embedded systems particular digital implementation
Placing transistors Sizing transistors Routing wires

Excellent performance, small size, low power

High NRE cost (e.g., Rs 2 M), long time-to-market

Semi-custom Lower layers are fully or partially built

Designers are left with routing of wires and maybe placing some blocks

Good performance, good size, less NRE cost than a full-custom implementation (perhaps $10k to $100k)

Still require weeks to months to develop

PLD (Programmable Logic Device)

All layers already exist
Designers can purchase an IC Connections on the IC are either created or destroyed to implement desired functionality Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) very popular

Low NRE costs, almost instant IC availability

Bigger, expensive (perhaps Rs 2000 per unit), power hungry, slower

Moores law
The most important trend in embedded systems
Predicted in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore IC transistor capacity has doubled roughly every 18 months for the past several decades
10,000 Logic 1,000 transistors per 100 chip 10 (in millions) 1 0.1 0.01 Note: logarithmic 0.001 scale

Moores law This growth rate is hard to imagine, most people underestimate

Graphical illustration of Moores law

1981 10,000 transistors
Leading edge chip in 1981







2002 150,000,000 transistors

Leading edge chip in 2002

Something that doubles frequently grows more quickly than most people realize!
A 2002 chip can hold about 15,000 1981 chips inside itself

Design of Embedded Systems (Wescon 1975)

... avoid data processing aides such as assemblers, high-level languages, simulated systems, and control panels. These computeraided design tools generally get in the way of cost-effective design and are more a result of the cultural influence of data processing, rather than a practical need. bulk of real-world control problems require less than 2,000 instructions to implement. For this size of program computer aided design does little to improve the design approach and does a lot to separate the design engineer from intimate knowledge of his hardware.

But the complexity of applications and the Embedded systems is increasing ICs of much larger size, complexity, complex functionality are desired. > 100, 000 lines of code We have four different problems in the design and implementation of Embedded systems: Visualise the system and write the specifications Breakdown the system and analyse it topdown process functional behaviour design technology

Design the processors processor technology

Build the processors IC technology

Design productivity gap

While designer productivity has grown at an impressive rate over the past decades, the rate of improvement has not kept pace with chip capacity
10,000 1,000 Logic 100 transistors per 10 chip (in millions) 1 0.1 0.01 0.001 100,000 10,000 1000

IC capacity


100 Productivity

(K) Trans./Staff10 Mo.



0.1 0.01

So we need to use design technology which would help us to bridge the productivity gap

Digital Design methodology has changed drastically in the past 5 years

Design needs Design technology Achieving the metrics + fast & reliably Enhanced productivity


single stage
Multi stage - several abstraction levels

Design Technology
The manner in which we convert our concept of desired system functionality into an implementation
Compilation/Synthesis: Automates exploration and insertion of implementation details for lower level. Compilation/ Libraries/ Synthesis IP
System specification

Test/ Verification Model simulat./ checkers Hw-Sw cosimulators HDL simulators Gate simulators

System synthesis Behavior synthesis RT synthesis Logic synthesis

Hw/Sw/ OS

Libraries/IP: Incorporates pre-designed implementation from lower abstraction level into higher level.
Test/Verification: Ensures correct functionality at each level, thus reducing costly iterations between levels.

Behavioral specification

RT components

RT specification

Logic specification

Gates/ Cells

To final implementation

Compilation and synthesis

Specify in abstract manner and get lower level details

Libraries and IP - reusability

Are ICs a form of libraries? How do cores differ from ICs Test / verification Simulation HDL based simulations

Process of FPGA fabrication Visualise a system Write behavioural specifications of the system (model of the system) HDL like Verilog, schematic, FSM etc Synthesize the system (lower level components and their connections also called netlist) Simulate for functional and timing validation Generate test data (test bench) Make FPGA Test the functioning of the system using test bench

Multiple perspectives for visualisation of a system

Functionality perspective

User I/F or Operator perspective




Architectural perspective

Systematic Design of Embedded Systems

Most embedded systems are far too complex for Adhoc/empirical approach to design(100,000 lines) Methodical, engineering-oriented, tool-based approach is essential specification, synthesis, optimization, verification etc. prevalent for hardware, still rare for software One key aspect is the creation of models Representation of knowledge and ideas about the system being developed - specification Models only represent certain properties to be analyzed, understood & verified. They omit or modify certain details (abstraction) based on certain assumptions. One of the few tools available for dealing with complexity

Abstractions and Models

Models are foundations of science and engineering Designs usually start with informal specifications However, soon a need for Models and Abstractions is established Models or abstractions have connections to Implementation (h/w, s/w) and Application Two types of modeling: System structure & system behavior The relationships, behavior and interaction of atomic components Coordinate computation of & communication between components Models from classical CS FSM, RAM (von Neumann), CCS (Milner) Turing machine, Universal Register Machine

Conceptual model Physical model

Analogue model
Mathematical model

Numerical model
Computational model Implementation Assumptions & accuracy

Good Models

Simple Ptolemy vs. Galileo Amenable for development of theory to reason should not be too general Has High Expressive Power a game is interesting only if it has some level of difficulty! Provides Ability for Critical Reasoning Science vs. Religion Practice is currently THE only serious test of model quality Executable (for Simulation) Synthesizable Unbiased towards any specific implementation (h/w or s/w)

Modeling Embedded Systems

Functional behavior: what does the system do

in non-embedded systems, this is sufficient

Contract with the physical world

Time: meet temporal contract with the environment
temporal behavior important in real-time systems, as most embedded systems are simple metric such as throughput, latency, jitter more sophisticated quality-of-service metrics

Power: meet constraint on power consumption

peak power, average power, system lifetime

Others: size, weight, heat, temperature, reliability etc System model must support description of both functional behavior and physical interaction

Elements of a Model of a Computation System: Language

Set of symbols with superimposed syntax & semantics

textual (e.g. matlab), visual (e.g. labview) etc.

Syntax: rules for combining symbols

well structured, intuitive

Semantics: rules for assigning meaning to symbols and combinations of symbols

without rigorous semantics, precise model behavior over time is not well defined full executability and automatic h/w or s/w synthesis is impossible E.g. operational semantics (in terms of actions of an abstract machine), denotational semantics (in terms of relations)

Simulation and Synthesis Two sides of the same coin Simulation: scheduling then execution on desktop computer(s) Synthesis: scheduling then code generation in C++, C, assembly, VHDL, etc. Validation by simulation important throughout design flow Models of computation enable Global optimization of computation and communication Scheduling and communication that is correct by construction

Models Useful In Validating Designs

By construction
property is inherent.

By verification
property is provable.

By simulation
check behavior for all inputs.

By intuition
property is true. I just know it is.

By assertion
property is true. Would make something of it?

By intimidation
Dont even try to doubt whether it is true

It is generally better to be higher in this list !

An embedded system is expected to receive inputs, process data or information, and provide outputs

The processing is done by processors

Before we build the processor we must know the expected behaviour of the processor This is the model of the processor. We may call it a computational model. Before the processor is built it is in our mind. We express this model through a description text, graphics, or some formal language

Models & Languages

Models exist without language Models are expressed in some language or the other A model could be expressed in different languages A language could express more than one model Some languages are better suited to express some models

Types of models many & include

Sequential model A model that represents the embedded system as a sequence of actions. A variety of systems need this sequence of steps. Most programming languages and natural languages can express this feature Communicating-process model A number of independent processes (may be sequential) communicate among themselves whilst doing their job. Synchronisation/signalling, passing data, mutual exclusion etc. Some languages are better suited.

State machine model A model where the embedded system resides in a state till an input to the system/event makes it change its state. Most reactive and control system applications fall under this category. FSM representations are good way expressing the model. Text Vs Graphic languages Data flow model An embedded system that functions mainly by transforming an input data stream into an output data stream functioning of an mpeg camera UML may be more useful. Most DSP applications

OO models Well known Useful for successive decomposition problems, problems where OO paradigm is useful etc.

Multiple models and multiple languages may be needed to describe a complex system. The model description must be accompanied by semantic descriptions for proper processing

Lift model - English language description Lift cage contains a number of controls floor numbers, open and close door, it receives the data regarding the floor it is at. Users press the floor number to which they desire to go and depending upon the current location and the floor it has to go it moves up and down. Before it moves, the door is closed. On reaching the floor it keeps the door open for 15 sec, unless close door operation is executed before door closes. When stationary, door is kept closed. When moving in a direction it does not return to opposite direction, even on request, unless no request for higher or lower floor in the same direction is pending

Problems 1. Develop a model for the lift controller 2. Identify one problem each that fits into the models discussed above. 3. Develop a model for a data acquisition system that receives data from 14 channels through A/D converters and takes appropriate control actions as a function of the 14 inputs and communicates with 4 actuators. Inputs from channel 15 or 16 need immediate response, and the controller must respond in a time of about 20 clock cycles. In these cases, actuator 5 is activated.

Modeling Approaches based on Software Design Methods No systematic design in 60s From 70s, many different s/w design strategies Design methods based on functional decomposition Real-Time Structured Analysis and Design(RTSAD) Design methods based on concurrent task structuring Design Approach for Real-Time Systems (DARTS) Design methods based on information hiding Object-Oriented Design method (OOD) Design methods based on modeling the domain Jackson System Development method (JSD) Object-Oriented Design method (OOD)


UML is the latest manifestation becoming prevalent in complex embedded system design

How Models Influence an Application Design?

Example: given input from a camera, digitally encode it using MPEG II encoding standards. this task involves: storing the image for processing going through a number of processing steps, e.g., Discrete cosine transform (DCT), Quantization, encoding (variable length encoding), formatting the bit stream, Inverse Discrete Cosine transform (IDCT), ... Is this problem appropriate for Reactive Systems, Synchronous Data flow, CSP, ... More than one model could be appropriate.

Choice of Model
Model Choice: depends on application domain DSP applications use data flow models Control applications use finite state machine models Event driven applications use reactive models efficiency of the model in terms of simulation time in terms of synthesized circuit/code. Language Choice: depends on underlying semantics semantics in the model appropriate for the application. available tools personal taste and/or company policy

Design productivity exponential increase



10 1 0.1

0.0 1














Exponential increase over the past few decades


Productivity (K) Trans./Staff Mo.

The co-design ladder

Sequential program code (e.g., C, VHDL)

In the past:
Hardware and software design technologies were very different Recent maturation of synthesis enables a unified view of hardware and software

Compilers (1960's,1970's)
Assembly instructions

Behavioral synthesis (1990's)

Register transfers

Assemblers, linkers (1950's, 1960's)

Machine instructions

RT synthesis (1980's, 1990's)

Logic equations / FSM's

Logic synthesis (1970's, 1980's)

Logic gates VLSI, ASIC, or PLD implementation: hardware

Hardware/software codesign

Microprocessor plus program bits: software


The choice of hardware versus software for a particular function is simply a tradeoff among various design metrics, like performance, power, size, NRE cost, and especially flexibility; there is no fundamental difference between what hardware or software can implement.

Independence of Processor and IC Technologies

Basic tradeoff
General vs. custom With respect to processor technology or IC technology The two technologies are independent
Customized, providing improved: Power efficiency Performance Size Cost (high volume)

General, providing improved:

Flexibility Maintainability NRE cost Time- to-prototype Time-to-market Cost (low volume)

Generalpurpose processor


Singlepurpose processor


Semi-custom Full-custom

Design productivity gap

While designer productivity has grown at an impressive rate over the past decades, the rate of improvement has not kept pace with chip capacity
10,000 1,000 100 Logic transistors per 10 chip 1 (in millions) 0.1 0.01 0.001

100,000 10,000

IC capacity


100 10 1 0.1 0.01

Productivity (K) Trans./StaffMo.

Design productivity gap

1981 leading edge chip required 100 designer months
10,000 transistors / 100 transistors/month

2002 leading edge chip requires 30,000 designer months

150,000,000 / 5000 transistors/month

Designer cost increase from $1M to $300M

The mythical man-month

The situation is even worse than the productivity gap indicates
In theory, adding designers to team reduces project completion time In reality, productivity per designer decreases due to complexities of team management and communication In the software community, known as the mythical man-month (Brooks 1975) At some point, can actually lengthen project completion time! (Too many cooks)

1M transistors, 1 designer=5000 trans/month Each additional designer reduces for 100 trans/month So 2 designers produce 4900 trans/month each

60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0

16 19 24 43

15 16


Months until completion

Individual 10 20 30 Number of designers 40

Embedded systems are everywhere Key challenge: optimization of design metrics
Design metrics compete with one another

A unified view of hardware and software is necessary to improve productivity Three key technologies
Processor: general-purpose, application-specific, single-purpose IC: Full-custom, semi-custom, PLD Design: Compilation/synthesis, libraries/IP, test/verification