EE382C Embedded Software Systems - Configurable Computing Project

Brian L. Evans

Configurable Computing Project

In an industry with a lot of standards deployed in the field, an issue of interoperability arises. One solution is called transcoding in which one bitstream from one standard is converted to another a bitstream for another standard while decoding as few bits as possible in the original bitstream. For example, in transcoding a video stream between MPEG1 (e.g. video CD) and MPEG2 (e.g. DVD), most of the MPEG1 video stream can be reused.

Transcoding, however, is an impractical solution in many cases. Consider the issue of building a mobile phone (handset) that can transmit and receive any existing mobile wireless standard:

  1. AMPS: analog, FM, FDMA
  2. GSM: digital, GMSK, TDMA and FDMA
  3. IS-54: digital, TDMA
  4. IS-95: digital, CDMA
  5. PCS: digital
where These systems operate at different carrier frequencies (from 800 MHz to 1900 MHz) and use different modulation and transmission (multiple access) schemes. Companies have been developing wireless basestations that can handle multiple standards.

The following article describes a chip under development to handle multiple standards geared for handsets:

The idea of configurable computing on a chip would be a good project for both the Embedded Software Systems course and the Hardware/Software Codesign course. One of the Ph.D. students here, Mr. Murat Torlak, is interested in giving direction about this project.

Last updated 04/07/99.