Are We Headed for a Complexity Apocalypse in Embedded SoCs? – ELCE 2012

Free-electronics has made nearly 50 videos of Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2012 available at in webM format. I’ll upload the ones I find most interesting to Youtube to make them accessible to a larger audience, and post them in this blog together with a short summary, and links to presentation slides when available. I did the same last year, so you can have a look at ELCE 2011 videos if you wish. Some 2012 videos are just an update from 2011.

The first video is a keynote by Matt Locke, the Director of the Linux Developer Center at Texas Instruments, about the future of Embedded SoCs.

First, he compares the block diagrams of a Power PC chip from 1995 and the latest TI OMAP 15 SoC. In the former, we can see the details of the architecture, but in the latter, we can only see an overview as it has become so complex with multiple core, DSP, GPU… There are now issues of costs and time to market due to this complexity mainly because of specialized software that must be written to those blocks, and it’s now not possible to use the previous approach of waiting for hardware before implementing software, and both hardware and software must be started at the same time, as you may miss the window of opportunity otherwise. As not one company can handle all the work and associated costs, this issue of complexity must be address by having companies working together, and Linaro is part of that. Matt explains he chose the word “Apocalypse” in reference to the “Zombie Apocalypse”, because it seems we are always running out of time with software development due to the SoCs’ complexity. Another way to reduce complexity is to find way to create common frameworks between all SoCs, and he also stresses the importance of pushing the code upstream.

The audio is not very good, and the video quite dark. Hopefully other videos will be better.