Is Designing Your Chip Architecture Like Driving a Car with No Pedals?

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in Blogs
02 August 2017

For those of you that have been reading my blogs or watching my presentations for a while, you will know I like to use cars for analogies. They represent a system that everyone understands at a user level, they are composed of many subsystems, the details of which can get pretty complicated if you dig deep. So today, you will see how most chip architectures are designed like having a car without a gas pedal – and what you can do about it.

Imagine a car that once started, always had its engine running at the maximum safe RPM (revolutions per minute), say 6500 RPM. This car can control its speed through use of a very sophisticated transmission system which has a single stick between the seats – forward is faster, backwards is slower, and all the way back is in neutral. You still have several subsystems which can be turned off when not needed like the headlights, radio, navigation system, air conditioning, etc. Seems completely doable although ridiculous for a very obvious reason – you are wasting a lot of gasoline! You don’t really need the energy generated by running the engine at maximum all the time – that wastes energy. So, why are so many chips designed the same way?

Read the full blog here