The 32-bit event-driven processor architecture from XMOS offers an alternative approach to embedded computing solutions. Instead of the operating system managing and servicing interrupts, the processor creates and looks for events, according to the Bristol, U.K.-based company.
XMOS event-driven processors combine the code efficiency of a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processor, the computational performance of a complex digital signal processor, and the flexibility of implementing peripherals—such as USB 2.0, Ethernet, and graphics controllers—through user-defined C code, not silicon. Developers load a set of software programs or threads that make up the application code, digital signal processor (DSP) routines, and I/O peripheral software at runtime. The processor combines the functionality of a microcontroller (MCU), a DSP, and a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) under a single integrated development environment.
More than 75 software-based peripherals, available in open source, have been developed for use in a range of customer products. The architecture is suited to intensive real-time applications that involve streaming data. End customers include digital audio docks, motor controllers, laser positioning, and printer ink control systems.
Product problems can be fixed or new product functions loaded without changing the hardware design; instead, software is loaded into the processor. This can be accomplished via the Internet, similar to loading an application into a cell phone.