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Multicore design reference aimed at single core developers

30 Apr 2015  | Bernard Cole

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Driven by the belief that everyone can benefit from the topics they're not specifically involved in, Mayer has structured the book in a way that allows both a linear reading from to start to finish, but nonlinearly as well. Each of the chapters is written as a standalone essay, but includes enough references to other aspects of a design to lead to related areas of interest, his intended goal.

"A hardware designer can design a better platform if he or she understands the real-world issues that software programmers face either when writing an application or building firmware," Moyer wrote. "A programmer writing an application can write better code if he or she understands the nuances and trade-offs involved in the platform that will run the code."

Real World Multicore Embedded Systems

Bryon Moyer has organised his book on multicore development so that it is easily navigable, no matter what the subject area of interest. (Source: Newnes/Elsevier)

To get you started, Moyer includes a map of the book with the chapters organised into broad categories that make it easy to navigate to those of particular interest. Then in his introductory chapter he gives the reader particular instructions on which chapters to read first and which to go to next, depending on what they are interested in.

For me, these strategies worked. My first reading was in the "begin at the beginning" way. But several times later when I picked the book up for more information, what I had intended to be a short exploration took me deeper than I expected.

For example, because the topic of system partitioning in multicore designs has come up recently in several technical papers I have read or edited for use as contributed articles, I went back and read Chapter 11 on partitioning programs for multicore systems and the role of concurrency (or the lack of it). The way he has structured the book led me back to Chapter 2 on the promise and challenges of concurrency, as well as several other related chapters.

On the other hand, some chapters were disappointing, particularly Chapter 9 on the various languages available for writing code for use in a multicore design. The chapter discusses the basic features of C, C++, Java, Ada, and several web languages and their general strengths and weaknesses. But because the book was written for single core developers who are familiar with those languages, I expected information about how to use them in a multicore design. But there was little on how to use them in that environment, which was the stated objective of the book.

Fortunately, because of the way Moyer has constructed the book, I was able to find my way easily to discussions in other chapters that compensated for the weaknesses of Chapter 9. So, despite the minor flaws, it is a book I have found useful in gaining the insights I need.

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