Microprocessor Based Design
Design Interface designs have used many different microprocessors to address disparate applications and client requirements, from 8 bit microcontrollers up to 64 bit super-scalar processors with appropriate memory, I/O systems and power supplies. Communications and control oriented systems have used both integer and floating point digital signal processors.
Multiprocessor designs have become something of a speciality, both symmetric and master / slave processor farms, implemented with shared memory or message passing interfaces. Here it is vitally important to provide sufficient memory, inter-processor communication and I/O bandwidth to fit the application and to match the requirements of the processors. To help maximise efficiency and facilitate load balancing hardware support can be provided for memory coherency, resource interlocking and performance monitoring.
At the other end of the application spectrum are embedded microcontroller based systems. Here the bulk of the hardware design effort is generally spent on the I/O interfaces to the transducers and actuators that allow the processor to accurately monitor and control the attached system.