By Ron Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Altera Corporation
One of the unpleasant truths of engineering is this: all system design is influenced—however irrationally—by the dominant paradigm in business computing. Sometimes this truth is a sad one. Sometimes it opens the door to a new era of system architecture.
When microprocessors first conquered the world, system designers suddenly all had to use microprocessors, even if at great cost in system performance and power consumption. System developers learned programming. When Ethernet rose up out of Xerox, the PC sprang forth from IBM, and the two joined hands to enmesh the business world, networks of processors became the “right” way to design all sorts of systems, including embedded ones. Again, performance, power, convenience, and security became secondary to “doing it right.” In short, when the world of information technology (IT) speaks, it behooves system designers to listen.
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