Researchers at Bell Labs claim to have breathed new life into digital signal processors (DSPs), which many observers believed would be unable to keep up with the demands of broadband applications.
Lucent's research arm has been working on a new architecture, called Daytona, to integrate multiple DSPs onto a single silicon chip. This allows the chips to process data up to 16 times faster than conventional DSP processors, said researchers.
"In next-generation broadband wired and wireless communication systems, significantly faster processing speeds will be needed for real-time audio, video and data transmission," said Bryan Ackland, head of Bell's DSP and VLSI systems research department. "The Daytona architecture tackles this challenge."
The prototype, which was demonstrated at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, can perform at 3.2 billion operations per second.
However, a second prototype, which is still under development, can operate at 50 billion operations per second - 16 times faster than today's commercially available offerings. The chip holds 32 DSPs running at 200MHz.
The inventors of the chip said that the key to Daytona is how it stores software.
If a chip has 10 DSPs, the software stores it only once in a single memory module that is shared by all 10 DSPS rather than storing it in 10 different memory modules as is currently the case. The elimination of the other nine memory modules makes room for more DSPs on the chip.
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