In this article, the staff of ECN Magazine met with Martin Croome of GreenWaves Technologies, Kevin McDermott of Imperas Software, Art Swift of Esperanto Technologies and the RISC-V Foundation, Senthil Kumar of TE Connectivity, Paul Dobbins of Telent Technology Services, Arun Vemuri of Texas Instruments, Harsha Nanduri of Microchip’s Development Systems BU, Ramanuja Konreddy of Microchip’s 32-bit Microcontroller BU and David Paloian of Microchip Technology.
Question: Is there a new technology or innovation that you think will significantly impact your engineering discipline?
Response by Martin Croome: Artificial intelligence (AI) and the interpretation of rich data at the very edge of the network is key technology that will significantly affect products with embedded compute capability. The ability to interpret and summarize data sources before they reach the data center promises to change the way sensor devices are used in customer solutions. This brings techniques that require, if they are to be fully exploited, a very deep understanding of mathematics and statistics that is generally not in the baggage of embedded software engineers leaving tertiary education.
We believe that for engineers to be successful in creating the fundamental breakthroughs in products in this area will need to treat AI techniques as more than black boxes, and really understand the concepts and their limitations and advantages.
This will have the effect of favoring those engineers that have the mathematical background necessary more than may have been the case previously.
Response by Kevin McDermott: We are enthused about RISC-V, the new open standard processor ISA which will fuel the coming revolution in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL). The technology encourages innovation, and there are already many companies that have adopted the RISC-V architecture. The RISC-V Foundation has also helped in the development of an ecosystem of synergistic partners. But more than that, as the industry moves to more embedded devices (in IoT for example), the expertise based on 30 years of delivering deeply embedded (unseen) devices can and must be leveraged. The trend to explore potential new applications is creating renewed interest in custom silicon devices. Architectures that have been proven in mature markets are expanding and providing a solid foundation for new opportunities in emerging applications. Heterogeneous devices built around selecting the optimum balance of compute resource to task workload is becoming the new norm. In general, I think we can all agree the days of one-size-fits-all is certainly over.
Response by Art Swift: RISC-V is the new processor ISA that has been adopted by more than 100 companies, organizations, and academic institutions as the platform of choice for architecture innovation and new chip development. The RISC-V ecosystem is growing rapidly, and in certain market segments, already rivals the ecosystem breadth of established players. One very well-established technology player, storage company Western Digital, has already announced that the company will transition consumption of over one billion cores per year to RISC-V.