Using analog devices blackfin for embedded processing
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Using Analog Devices’ Blackfin for Embedded Processing. Diana Franklin and John Seng. Outline. Curriculum & Goals Blackfin Environment Expansion Board Lectures Labs Conclusions. Position in Curriculum. 1 yr Java. H&P except I/O and Parallel Processing. 1 yr Dig des/ arch. Embedded.

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Using Analog Devices’ Blackfin for Embedded Processing

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Using analog devices blackfin for embedded processing

Using Analog Devices’ Blackfin for Embedded Processing

Diana Franklin and John Seng


Outline

Outline

  • Curriculum & Goals

  • Blackfin Environment

  • Expansion Board

  • Lectures

  • Labs

  • Conclusions


Position in curriculum

Position in Curriculum

1 yr

Java

H&P except I/O and Parallel Processing

1 yr

Dig des/

arch

Embedded

C Programming

Assembly

Quarter system = 10 week terms


Goals

Goals


Outline1

Outline

  • Curriculum & Goals

  • Blackfin Environment

    • Architecture

    • IDE

    • EZ-Kit Lite Board

  • Expansion Board

  • Lectures

  • Labs

  • Conclusions


Architecture

Architecture


Basic features

Basic Features

  • 10 pipeline stages

  • In-order core

  • Separate data and pointer register files

  • 1 instruction bank, 2 data banks

  • Two each of Integer ALU, Multiplier, Accumulator, and Video units

  • Two Data Address Generators


Interesting features

Interesting Features

  • Circular Buffer support

  • Reverse Bit Addressing

  • Single-instruction Multiply-Accumulate

  • Zero-overhead Loop

  • Static Branch Prediction

  • Can execute up to 3 instructions at a time, with limits on instruction types


Software

Software

  • Visual DSP++

  • Intuitive interface

  • C or Assembly Programming


Ez kit lite board

EZ-Kit Lite Board

  • Basic board with buttons and LEDs as primary fun I/O devices

  • No interface to a breadboard readily available


Goals satisfied

Goals satisfied

  • Assembly unlike MIPS, but pipeline still simple

  • Parallelism

  • Powerful, usable for several courses

  • DSP


Problems

Problems

  • No textbook

  • No interface to breadboard

  • License server flakey for students

  • Board has switches that change behavior – not a secure lab


Outline2

Outline

  • Curriculum & Goals

  • Blackfin Environment

  • Expansion Board

  • Lectures

  • Labs

  • Conclusions


Expansion board

Expansion Board

8 input bits,

8 output bits

Blackfin

3.3 Volts

Breadboard

5 Volts

Buf

24-pin cable (16 pins used)

Voltage level

Conversion buffer


Outline3

Outline

  • Curriculum & Goals

  • Blackfin Environment

  • Expansion Board

  • Lectures

  • Labs

  • Conclusions


Decisions decisions

Decisions, Decisions

  • The largest obstacle to class is now lecture preparation

  • Copy / Pasting from Instruction Set Reference and Hardware Reference Manual time-consuming, not fun.

  • We provide skeleton lectures plus the Blackfin-relevant information to integrate into your own lectures.


Textbook

Textbook

  • None available for Blackfin

  • Generic textbooks are very high-level

  • Ideal would be generic textbook with slides that add Blackfin-specific details

    • Wayne Wolf’s Computers as Components

    • Blackfin reference manuals


Normal lecture topics

Normal Lecture Topics

  • Memory-Mapped I/O / Polling

  • Interrupts

  • Timers

  • Ports / Buses

  • DMA and Power

  • Analog / Digital Conversion


Extra lecture topics

Extra Lecture Topics

  • Blackfin ISA

  • Blackfin Pipeline

  • Blackfin Calling Convention

  • Branch Prediction

  • Parallel Processing

  • C for Assembly Programs

  • Code Optimization


Mixed results

Mixed Results

  • We did not require (only suggested) generic textbook

    • Students found the lack of textbook difficult

  • Additional Lectures added in second instantiation of course

    • Dramatically increased number of C programmers in lab.

  • Tying to H&P textbook topics a positive reinforcement of earlier knowledge.


Outline4

Outline

  • Curriculum & Goals

  • Blackfin Environment

  • Expansion Board

  • Lectures

  • Labs

  • Conclusions


Using analog devices blackfin for embedded processing

Labs

  • We include several labs.

  • I can provide the sample code given to students if asked.

  • Labs were multi-part to target specific lecture topics


Experience

Experience

  • 10-weeks a short time to learn a new assembly language, new IDE, and so many new concepts

  • Multi-part labs were difficult because starting a new project was high-overhead in this system

  • Different theories on how much to give students (sample code vs nothing)


Outline5

Outline

  • Curriculum & Goals

  • Blackfin Environment

  • Expansion Board

  • Lectures

  • Labs

  • Conclusions


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Embedded processing classes must keep up with technology.

  • Hardware is expensive, so cost sometimes overrides other factors.

  • A repository of different architectures, tied to a generic textbook, might be useful.


Resources

Resources

  • www.csc.calpoly.edu/~franklin/316/Bundle.tar


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