Microcontrollers, Digital signal processors - Informatics

Microcontrollers

This class of specialized microprocessors is focused on the implementation of control devices, embedded in a variety of, including home appliances. The nomenclature of manufactured microcontrollers is estimated in thousands of types, and the total annual volume of their release is billions of copies.

A feature of microcontrollers is the placement on the same chip in addition to the CPU internal memory and a large set of peripherals. The peripherals typically include one to eight parallel data I/O ports, one or two serial ports, a timer block, an analog-to-digital converter, and dedicated devices such as a pulse width modulation signal generation unit, a liquid crystal display controller and a number of others. Due to the use of internal memory and peripherals, control systems based on microcontrollers contain a minimum number of additional components.

A large range of 8-, 16- and 32-bit microcontrollers is available to meet customer needs.

Digital Signal Processors

This class of specialized microprocessors is designed for digital processing of incoming analog signals in real time. The architecture of digital signal processors (DSPs) is oriented to the rapid execution of the sequence of operations of multiplication-addition with the accumulation of an intermediate result in the accumulator register, which is due to the peculiarity of algorithms for processing analog signals. Therefore, the instruction set of these processors contains special Multiplication with Accumlation (MAC) commands that implement these operations.

The value of a digitized analog signal can be represented as a fixed or floating point number. In accordance with this, the DSPs are divided into two classes:

• processors that process fixed-point numbers. This class includes simpler and cheaper DSPs, which typically handle 16- or 24-bit operands represented as a proper fraction. However, the limited bit capacity in some cases does not allow to ensure the necessary accuracy of the results;

• processors that process floating-point numbers that perform calculations on 32- and 40-bit operands and provide higher accuracy of results.

To improve performance in performing specific signal processing operations, most DSPs implement a Harvard architecture using separate buses to transfer addresses, commands, and data. In a number of DSPs, some features of the VLIW architecture have also been applied, which is characterized by the combination of several operations in the same command. This combination ensures the processing of existing data and simultaneous loading of new data into the execution pipeline for further processing.

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