Many of today’s embedded system designs make use of both microcontroller technology and digital signal processing (DSP) technology. Control applications need to efficiently process bit-level control and status information along with fast interrupt response. Mobile communications devices rely on a DSP to handle high speed voice and image processing and utilize a microprocessor to manage user-interface and other general purpose processing.

Some examples of these convergent architectures include DSP56800E from Motorola, and the ARM11 cores from ARM which feature 16-bit multiplyaccumulate (MAC) instructions and a pipeline microarchitecture which performs at traditional DSP speeds. Read more about convergent architectures in this article.

Reprinted in its entirety from ARM IQ Vol. 3, No. 3