EE Times published predictions from Texas Instruments on developments from now to 2020 in computer processors.
The predictions are by Alan Gatherer. He is the CTO for the High Performance Multicore Processors group at TI and is responsible for all strategic development of TI’s digital baseband modems for 3G wireless infrastructure
2012: Network-on-Chip (NoC) arrives. A NoC is a high-performance device, which is really a grouping of processing islands connected by packet-based, point-to-point asynchronous communication highways.
2015: The Death of the FPGA. An important footnote in the history of programmability is the demise of the FPGA. Small multi-core CPUs consume significantly less power as well as provide a richer set of mapping options for complex algorithms and communication patterns than does the distributed fabric of ALUs and LUTs that make up FPGAs.
2020: The CPU disappears. Spreading functionality across multiple CPUs drastically simplifies the silicon overhead on each CPU, and hardware-based OS support manages NoC traffic efficiently
The range of devices available in 2020 will be about the same as it is in 2009. In 2020, embedded DSPs will still be a heterogeneous combination of CPUs and accelerators. Even though programmers are unaware of the individual devices when programming, it will still be true that some devices perform certain tasks much better than others.
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