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White Paper: Unified Design for Hardware and Software
jason
07/07/2010 - 16:01

The event-driven XCore processor runs multiple real-time tasks simultaneously using hardware threads. Each thread executes RISC-style instructions and shares access to memory. Threads can run standard computational code, DSP code and control software (taking logic decisions, or executing a state machine). Threads can also use tightly coupled ports to control I/O pins with precision timing and interact with each other using hardware communication channels.

Threads have fully deterministic behavior, with a guaranteed share of the processing power and memory bandwidth, and guaranteed response times to external events.

The key to designing both hardware and software in a unified high-level abstraction is the XC programming language. XC is based on the widely used C language, with extensions to support concurrency, events, I/O, precision timing and communication.

Download and read it here: http://bit.ly/UnifiedDesign

Project of the month - July - F_Petrini - Swarm Light
jason
05/07/2010 - 14:15
Congratulations to F_petrini, who is the Project Of The Month winner for July for his "Swarm Light" project. A quote from the Swarm Light project is as follows: "The ‘Swarm Light‘ is an experimental light installation with a real ‚collective consciousness’ that subtly reacts to the viewer’s audible presence. The installation is a contemporary example of how the arbitrary boundaries of fine and decorative art, design and utility are no longer of immediate aesthetic relevance. An apparently inanimate object, ‘Swarm‘ unites crucial aspects of rAndom international‘s continued experimentation with light, behavioural responses and interactive spatial environments. The viewers‘ presence creates a soundscape that directly alters the behaviour of the entire environment surrounding ‘Swarm Light‘. Human presence brings a basic form of artificial intelligence to life. Sounds or movement captured as light and shadow create a type of participatory and performative synæsthesia that culminates in an instinctual perception of the space, rather than a cerebral judgement. More information about the installation can be found on rAndom International's web site." The installation consists of three huge LED cubes hanging from the ceiling. Each of the three cubes consists of 1000 LED modules organized in a 3D grid measuring 81 x 81 x 81 cm. Six XMOS XC-2 Ethernet boards are used as a bridge between the Ethernet network and the LED modules. More information about my part of the project can be found on my blog: http://petrinis.se/blog/swarm-light/" As always, our lucky winner will receive a free XK-1 development kit! Congratulations! Go check out his project right now! Looking towards August, please submit your nominations to the main POTM thread here (please ensure criteria are met detailed in this post if you wish to be considered).
White Paper: XC for Verilog Designers: Describing Hardware in a High-Level Language
jason
23/06/2010 - 08:48

XMOS technology allows the hardware design process to be described in a high-level language (XC) rather than at a low-level in Verilog, reducing development times while maintaining product flexibility and keeping system costs down.

The XMOS XCore® processor is specifically designed for implementing hardware functions in software. Its event driven execution provides an instant response to external signals without the processing overhead that interrupts incur. Intelligent I/O ports allow precision timing of interface signals to specific clock edges or times.

Hardware written in Verilog maps code sections to the specific registers and low-level logic that it describes. This is equivalent to low-level software written in assembler mapping to specific processor instructions. Software written in high-level languages is quicker and easier to write because it is abstracted away from the low-level
machine instructions. It is also concise, readable and easier to maintain. Describing hardware in XC gives a designer the benefits of using a high-level language, whilst
maintaining tight control over the signal protocol on the chip's pins.

This whitepaper compares Verilog and XC implementations for several simple applications to demonstrate how Verilog structures are implemented in XC, and to highlight the basic XC structures. It assumes a working knowledge of C and Verilog.

Check out the new whitepaper: http://bit.ly/verilog

XMOS driven Swarm Light LED cube elevates audio visualization to art
jason
17/06/2010 - 09:49
Congratulations to F_Petrini who was involved in helping to make this amazing Swarm Light LED cube - discuss this with him in our forum or view the project here! A quote from rAndom international describing the Swarm Light project: "The ‘Swarm Light‘ is an experimental light installation with a real ‚collective consciousness’ that subtly reacts to the viewer’s audible presence. The installation is a contemporary example of how the arbitrary boundaries of fine and decorative art, design and utility are no longer of immediate aesthetic relevance. An apparently inanimate object, ‘Swarm‘ unites crucial aspects of rAndom international‘s continued experimentation with light, behavioural responses and interactive spatial environments. The viewers‘ presence creates a soundscape that directly alters the behaviour of the entire environment surrounding ‘Swarm Light‘. Human presence brings a basic form of artificial intelligence to life. Sounds or movement captured as light and shadow create a type of participatory and performative synæsthesia that culminates in an instinctual perception of the space, rather than a cerebral judgement."
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