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Challenges to Combining General-Purpose and Multimedia Processors
December 1997 (vol. 30 no. 12)
pp. 33-37

Multimedia workloads have always held an important role in embedded applications, but now they are becoming increasingly common in general-purpose computing as well. Over the past three years, the major vendors of general-purpose processors (GPPs) have announced extensions to their instruction set architectures that supposedly enhance the performance of multimedia workloads.

Merging new multimedia instructions with existing GPPs poses several challenges. Also, some doubt remains as to whether multimedia extensions are a real development or just a competition-induced fad in the GPP industry. If it is indeed a development, how must current processor microarchitectures change in reaction?

Multimedia extensions are here to stay, but compiler designers, language designers, and microarchitects face large, difficult problems. The ultimate solution will depend on collaboration between universities and industry-a successful combination familiar to most processor designers.

Thomas M. Conte, Pradeep K. Dubey, Matthew D. Jennings, Ruby B. Lee, Alex Peleg, Salliah Rathnam, Mike Schlansker, Peter Song, Andrew Wolfe, "Challenges to Combining General-Purpose and Multimedia Processors," Computer, vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 33-37, Dec. 1997, doi:10.1109/2.642799
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