Long Distance Runner

Welcome to the Embedded Intel Solutions Summer 2016 Edition

In this issue Chris Ciufo’s article, “Intel at 50” surveys some of the reasons Intel has come the distance from 1968 until now, nearly 50 years later. Including the word “at” in his article’s title shows Ciufo’s confidence that Intel will indeed reach that half century milestone, and he backs up this confident assertion by describing Intel’s accomplishments and those for which it has and continues to be a catalyst. In fact, “long distance runner” may be too narrow a metaphor. Sometimes Intel is in a position to help others go the distance, too, as in a relay race. “Already the company’s 14nm FinFET (tri-gate) process technology has inspired companies like TSMC to work harder at its own process technology,” Ciufo notes. He also describes some of the areas where Intel has worked quietly behind the scenes to move technology forward.

While Intel looks forward to its next 50 years, the PCI-SIG is anticipating the role PCI Express 4.0 will play. In this issue PCI-SIG board member Dr. Ramin Neshati, in our EECatalog Q&A with him, says, “The PCI Express (PCIe) 4.0 architecture represents a doubling of the bit rates over the PCIe 3.0 architecture, from 8 gigatransfers per second [GT/s] to 16 GT/s.” He adds, “ What is important is that the increase in bit rate comes with no compromise to or sacrificing of PCI-SIG’s traditional technology objectives.” Neshati then goes on to give details about those objectives: backward compatibility, low cost and low power.

Also acknowledging low power as an objective and describing ways to achieve it were the participants in our round table. For example, Dan Demers, congatec, notes that a PICMG committee is defining a new standard that addresses Intel’s latest efforts in low-power server technology.

Looking Toward the Finish Line

We asked our round table participants to describe how the ecosystem of solutions built on Intel architecture will look going forward. For Min-Jie Chong, Keysight Technologies, what will stand out are Intel’s “higher performance and greater power savings in mobile platform architecture.” Nigel Forrester, Concurrent Technologies, reminds us that Intel’s acquisition of Altera bring devices which team CPUs and FPGAs to the playing field, a move to “further augment processing ability.”

Altera, now Intel Programmable Solutions Group, or Intel PSG, launched the Design Solutions Network this year. This issue includes perspective on DSN, and on his company’s role, from Rich Jaenicke.

As this introduction is merely a sprint, I will leave off here with encouragement not only to delve, at whatever pace suits you, into the articles mentioned above, but also to enjoy the other articles in this issue, which address topics from PICMG 3.1 R3.0 to debugging an Ethernet switch SoC design to the changes the SMARC 2.0 spec brings to this credit-card-sized Computer-on-Module standard.

And avoid running around for a variety of information: Visit www.EmbeddedIntel.com for news, articles, videos and blogs.

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