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<p>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. </p> <p>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? </p> <p>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. </p>

S. Rathnam et al., "Challenges to Combining General-Purpose and Multimedia Processors," in Computer, vol. 30, no. , pp. 33-37, 1997.
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