By Ken Wallace, CTO of Cyan Technology Ltd.
Industrial DesignLine Europe (06/01/2009 7:28 AM EDT)
There is a perception today that the world is migrating to the 32-bit MCU for all embedded applications. Whilst this may be true for the high volume markets such as mobile communications, the reality is that 8-bit MCUs continue to be the most widely used MCU architecture today. This is not because there is any particular fondness for this bus width amongst engineers, it simply reflects that fact that the vast majority of functions and applications today are still capable of being realized in 8-bit low cost devices.
In the push to be faster and more powerful a vital point about these architectures has been missed, the instruction sets were designed for assembly coding, the designers concentrating on the instructions that were necessary to implement efficient embedded applications.
This strength was also the foundation of an inherent weakness, the 8-bit architectures were developed before the development of high-level languages and therefore the instruction sets did not make for efficient "C" compliers with their strict demands on sizes and support for abstract structures.
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