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Accelerator chip speeds Java based Wireless Internet Products
Posted: 01-Jun-2000 [Source: inSilicon press release]

[Next generation handsets may run Java apps at 10x speeds according to this announcement made today by inSilicon.]

San Jose, Calif -- inSilicon Corporation (Nasdaq: INSN) -- a leading provider of communications technology for complex systems-on-a-chip -- today announced the availability of their JVX(tm) accelerator that increases Java(tm) technology-based system performance up to tenfold. JVX technology is designed to accelerate next-generation wireless Internet devices, such as cellular phones, advanced pagers, PDAs and Smartcards, in which low cost and low power are paramount.

"The proliferation of the wireless Internet for instant information delivery is driving Java technology-enabled mobile devices," said Wayne Cantwell, President and CEO of inSilicon. "As a result, improving Java platform performance in a cost-effective manner is critical for mobile system developers. We believe our unique JVX technology hits the sweet spot of system performance, quick time-to-market, and attractive production costs."

IDC, a leading information technology organization, projects that there will be over 300 million wireless Internet subscribers worldwide in 2003.

"inSilicon's JVX Java technology accelerator can significantly enhance Java technology performance in embedded applications," said Curtis Sasaki, director of product marketing, consumer technologies, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "With its low resource requirements, JVX can enable exciting uses for Java technology in many types of mobile consumer products."

Designed to work with any microprocessor or microcontroller, Java Virtual Machine, or real-time operating system, JVX consists of hardware and software semiconductor IP (SIP) technology that can be integrated into existing or new mobile platforms. Requiring only 15,000 logic gates, JVX is portable to any semiconductor foundry and design environment. The technology increases the performance of embedded systems without requiring extensive system architectural changes. Easier to integrate than dedicated Java CPUs or co-processors, the inSilicon JVX technology interfaces to the processor in existing systems, providing a fast and cost-effective upgrade path for delivering accelerated Java technology-enabled applications.

"ARM works closely with many of its third-party partners to ensure that there is a broad range of Java technology-based platforms built around the ARM(r) architecture," said Andrew Cummins, Java program manager at ARM. "JVX from inSilicon was first integrated with the ARM7TDMI(r) processor core. The combination of JVX and our industry-leading, low-power, low-cost architecture delivers enhanced Java technology performance to the market."

The JVX accelerator is slated for hardware demonstration June 6th at the upcoming JavaOne(tm) Conference, Sun Microsystems' worldwide Java technology developer conference.

Accelerating Java Technology Performance To date, Java technology acceleration has been accomplished using one of two methods: native Java processors or software-based Just-in-Time (JIT) compilers. Native Java processors have not been widely adopted, as they do not leverage existing system investments, but require entirely new hardware and software developments. JIT compilers required significant processor, memory and power resources, and thus are not well suited for battery-powered mobile applications.

inSilicon's JVX technology functions as a hardware accelerator attached to the native system processor. It can be integrated with any RISC or CISC microprocessor or microcontroller. The technology is licensed as synthesizable Verilog source code and software. A JVX-based implementation requires the addition of approximately 15,000 gates of logic to the native system CPU. In a 0.25-micron process, JVX occupies less than 1mm2 and consumes less than 1 mW/MHz of power. The CPU and JVX technology combination preserves all the capabilities of the original system CPU and adds the capability to execute Java code at near compiled speeds. Java technology acceleration can be achieved without the substitution of a higher performance processor, which greatly increases cost and reduces battery life. For example, the combination of JVX and the wireless application standard ARM7 processor at 40 MHz is expected to yield an Embedded Caffeine Mark approaching 200 -- considered world-class embedded system performance for Java technology-based applications.

Compatible with Existing Architectures JVX technology augments the original CPU capability, thus preserving existing software, including operating systems, drivers, proprietary and legacy code. No changes are needed to the microcomputer instruction set or hardware system architecture. To enable this capability, the JVX core can interface to the processor using one of two methods: As a memory-mapped device on the CPU's high-speed bus or as a device on the CPU's co-processor bus. JVX software interfaces to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) either through a JIT interface or within the JVM's interpreter loop. The JVX technology allows the CPU to switch between execution of Java code and native code transparently, resulting in a cost-effective Java technology upgrade path for embedded system designers.

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