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Fig. 3: The future: implementing the FlexTiles as low-cost high-volume chiplets to be flexibly assembled into larger systems using interposers. Microtechnique S.A.(CSEM), involved in the project to provide his expertise on ultra low-power processors and DSP accelerators. “Each application can ask for specific resources, these requirements will change across time, but the flexibility and priorities are set for each application”, Morgan continued. “For example, you could have a video surveillance camera with low resource requirements in video analytics, until a trigger event calls for more processing power to follow a specific car or to track an object. The new programming methodology makes it transparent for application developers to interface with the resource manager and the virtualization manager”, Morgan concluded. The dedicated tool-flow developed during the three years of the project’s duration is said to improve programming efficiency while reducing the impact on time to market, it is expected to reduce the development cost of many-core solutions by 20 to 50%. In principle, the basic FlexTiles 3D SoCs assembled using TSVs (through silicon vias) could be further assembled into larger systems packages using interposers – see figure 3. Hence the FlexTiles SoCs could be designed as high-volume and low-cost, generic chiplets adaptable in numbers to serve a broad range of signal and image processing applications. This will be the topic of the follow up project, FlexTiles-II for which Millet is seeking another set of partners, which could well include some established FPGA vendors. Although this is looking far ahead, such generic purpose chiplets could well justify a spin-off company, one that could offer a European alternative to the US-based heterogeneous many-core solutions put forward by companies such as Intel with its hybrid Xeon-FPGA package announced last June (most probably involving Altera), or that put forward by IBM tying up Xilinx FPGAs with its CAPI (Coherence Attach Processor Interface) protocol. We have yet to see if FPGA vendors would want to be involved in such chiplets, of if it would make sense at all for them to cannibalize their own high-end FPGA markets with such a versatile many-core solution. For the time being an FPGA-based FlexTiles development platform is commercially available from project partner Sundance Multiprocessor Technology Ltd. The hardware emulator relies on two Virtex 6 Xilinx FPGAs. With you from start to finish. We understand that electronic product design is a journey with many challenges. As a leading manufacturer of power supplies, we are with you from start to finish, collaborating to ensure that your next project is a success. Let us be your power expert. Dc-Dc Converters www.cui.com/PowerExpert Novum® Advanced Power Ac-Dc Power Supplies www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2014 35


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