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<p>Complex systems on chips (SoCs) use embedded processors to deliver a combination of flexibility and competitive cost, power, and performance. Embedded processors that use reduced-instruction-set computers (RISCs) are the most common, but they do not offer any particular competitive advantage, because all companies have access to the same general-purpose embedded processor. Traditionally, special-purpose hardware (digital or analog) is necessary to gain a competitive advantage in performance,cost, or power. An increasingly popular alternative is the application-specific instruction-set processor (ASIP), which combines the flexibility of general-purpose processors with an optimized application-or domain-specific architecture thatcan significantly improve performance. Using a more effective architecture helps reduce voltage and save power.</p>

P. G. Paulin and M. Santana, "FlexWare: A Retargetable Embedded-Software Development Environment," in IEEE Design & Test of Computers, vol. 19, no. , pp. 59-69, 2002.
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