ARM unveiled a more flexible version of its Big.Little multi-core scheme called DynamIQ, and launched an Embedded Linux Education Kit based on the Udoo Neo.
ARM Ltd. announced a more advanced version of its Big.Little heterogeneous multi-processing technology for balancing core loads on multi-core Cortex-A SoCs. The new DynamIQ multi-core scheme enables more flexible core configurations that were not possible with Big.Little, says ARM. Meanwhile, ARM’s educational unit released a new ARM Embedded Linux Education Kit based on the i.MX6 SoloX based Udoo Neo hacker SBC (see farther below).
DynamIQ conceptual diagram
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DynamIQ-enabled SoCs can be optimized to deliver up to a 50x boost in AI performance over the next 3-5 years relative to today’s high-end Cortex-A73 based systems, claims ARM. DynamIQ SoCs can also provide up to a 10x faster response between CPU and specialized accelerator hardware on the SoC for “substantially better combined performance,” says the newly SoftBank owned chip IP designer.
Unlike Big.Little, which is usually implemented to provide two to four high-end, performance-optimized cores with two to four more power efficient chips for background duty, DynamIQ can orchestrate up to eight cores in a single cluster, with each assigned its own performance and power characteristics. For example, DynamIQ will enable 1+3 or 1+7 configurations with substantially more granular and optimal control.
DynamIQ’s redesigned memory subsystem permits the cores to share its resources for lower latency and improved responsiveness, says ARM. The new subsystem is said to enable faster data access and improved power management, including faster power-switching modes and partial memory subsystem power down.
SoC designers can now independently control the frequency of individual cores, thereby enabling faster switching of tasks within restricted thermal budgets. DynamIQ also offers functionality aimed at advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), enabling the development of ASIL-D compliant systems for safe operation under failure conditions. More information may be found on ARM’s DynamIQ page.
Latest ARM Embedded Linux Education Kit taps Udoo Neo
While DynamIQ is designed to optimize complex multi-core chips, ARM’s latest Embedded Linux Education Kit uses an SBC with only a single, 1GHz Cortex-A9 core. The ARM University Program’s latest education kit — it’s ninth overall — uses Seco’s open source Udoo Neo SBC featuring NXP’s i.MX6 SoloX SoC.
Udoo Neo (left) and NXP i.MX6 SoloX block diagram
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As announced on sites including EETimes, the kit provides modular courseware on developing embedded Linux products, including Linux kernel configuration and custom peripheral driver development. ARM will give the kit away free to “qualified academics from universities worldwide.”
The SoloX SoC is a variation of the venerable, single-core i.MX6 Solo SoC that adds a Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) for real-time processing and Arduino compatibility. The SoloX also integrates a modest Vivante GPU with 3D acceleration, and features new security, GbE bridging, and core and power management features not found on the standard i.MX6.
The Linux- and Android-compatible Udoo Neo provides 512MB or 1GB of DDR3L RAM, a microSD slot, and coastline micro-HDMI, USB 2.0 host, and micro-HDMI ports. There’s also an optional 10/100 Ethernet port, which is shown in the ARM video below. The $50 board also offers LVDS, an analog camera interface, and a wide variety of serial interfaces and GPIO, including an expansion connector with full Arduino Uno pin compatibility for Arduino shields.
ARM worked with Italian embedded vendor Seco, as well as Siena, Italy based AIDILAB srl to develop the kit. Prof. Massimo Violante of Politecnico di Torino, Italy, led the academic development of the courseware. More information and requests for donated kits may be found in ARM University’s Embedded Linux Education Kit announcement.