Press release: IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES ANNOUNCES NEW REVOLUTIONARY DSP CORES AND METAGENCE TECHNOLOGIES DIVISION
Date : 2001-05-09
Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE: IMG), the leading provider of human
computer interface intellectual property (IP), today announced that it has
significantly extended its IP offerings to cover Digital Signal Processing
(DSP) technologies with the launch of its new Metagence Technologies
Metagence Technologies designs, licences and promotes patented
multi-threaded DSP cores that will enable low cost multi-purpose
communications and entertainment appliances. The first Metagence DSP
processor architecture - the META-1 core - is available for licensing now.
The next generation of digital applications will be focused on converged,
multi-function devices that will demand real-time capabilities for complex
DSP and mathematical calculations, whilst also needing to be low-power and
low-cost for integration into consumer electronics devices like Mobile
Digital Music Players (MP3, DAB, AAC), Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs),
Digital Radios and Digital Music Servers, Wireless Appliances, In-car
Entertainment and Information Systems, Set-Top-Boxes and Mobile Phones.
The critical advantage of the Metagence architecture is that it makes it
possible to run several real-time tasks on a single processor, rather than
resorting to inefficient multi-DSP solutions. This enables devices that can
integrate DAB, Consumer Audio, Digital Hi-Fi, Speech, Advanced User
Interfaces, Mobile Communication and Networking on a single chip. Metagence
technology is already being used by the partnership between Digital One and
Imagination Technologies in the development of a low power, low cost,
Digital Base-band (DBB) chip and digital receiver module, which will
constitute the heart of inexpensive portable digital radio receivers that
will be available within the year.
Hossein Yassaie, President and CEO, Imagination Technologies, says: "The
trend for future consumer appliances is clearly towards real-time
multi-functionality. Traditionally DSP-based systems can perform only one
time-critical function without resorting to inefficient multi-DSP solutions.
Using true hardware multi-threading and an efficient DSP architecture we can
deliver the complex DSP and mathematical capabilities and real-time response
that will revolutionise the possibilities for the next-generation of
Andy Trott, CEO Networks & Connected Devices division at Pace says:
"Convergence is an inevitability for the consumer electronics industry and
often it is exciting, multifunctional devices that win the hearts of
consumers looking for convenience, entertainment and value from electronic
appliances. I am pleased to see that Metagence shares this thinking and will
make innovative technology available to manufacturers wishing to develop
real-time, multifunction consumer devices."
Dave Hawkins, Product Manager, Roke Manor, says: "Multi-threading is the
strongest contender in the race to enable next generation DSP devices and
Metagence Technologies is a pioneer in this technology. We look forward to
continuing to work with both Metagence and Ensigma Technologies to develop
strong consumer applications for these impressive DSP technologies."
Quentin Howard, Chief Executive of Digital One, the national digital radio
network operator, says: "The baseband processor to drive DAB digital radio
with the functions and power needed for portable products points to one
device - the META core from Metagence Technologies. This is the device at
the heart of our recently announced DAB chip and it allows cost effective
and flexible consumer digital radio products to be made. With the current
analogue radio market at 12 million units per year in the UK, the digital
radio replacement potential is massive and that\'s good news for OEM\'s, good
news for the broadcasters and good news for consumers."
According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) during the year
2000 over $6 billion worth of DSP based devices shipped and this annual
figure will exceed $25 billion by year 2005.
Metagence Technologies joins Imagination Technologies\' existing divisions
PowerVR Technologies, Ensigma Technologies and VideoLogic Systems. The newly
established Metagence Technologies division will operate from Imagination
Technologies HQ in Hertfordshire, England.
The META DSP Technology
The META DSP processor architecture provides multiple real-time programming
contexts (threads) that can operate independently and concurrently. This
allows systems that are conventionally partitioned into multiple real-time
DSP and general purpose functions to be implemented on one device. The
memory system and caches of the DSP core are fully multi-threaded to allow
operation at maximum efficiency. The execution of instructions from threads
is scheduled on a clock-by-clock basis, resulting in zero overhead for the
switch from one thread to another and instant response to external stimuli.
A control system is provided to monitor and adjust the instruction issue
rate of each thread to allow overall system real-time constraints to be met.
The multi-threading scheme used in the META processor family enables the
best possible utilisation of the resources of the processor to be achieved.
Different threads can use different resources at the same time or one thread
can command all the resources of the processor at the same time. This
enables key algorithms to be performed extremely quickly and mundane actions
such as data movement to be performed with maximum efficiency.
Multi-threading optimises processor utilization, preventing long delays to
access memory or devices by enabling other threads to be run while results
are being processed. This is especially important in highly integrated
System-on-Chip (SoC) devices where it is common to share a single memory
between many on-chip functions.
Different programmers can develop programs for different threads in
isolation and still achieve real-time performance when the components are
combined. This is possible due to the META Automatic MIPS Allocation
(AMA(tm)) technology that controls thread execution rates to ensure that
real-time goals are achieved. This is particularly useful when legacy
software components must be integrated with new functions.
Comprehensive library and tool support enables embedded system designers to
produce highly integrated Metagence-based products quickly and easily,
helping to streamline time-to-market for new products.
About Imagination Technologies
Imagination Technologies Group plc is an international company that
develops, licenses and supplies market-leading 2D/3D graphics, digital
video, Digital Signal Processing, audio and speech technologies and products
for consumer entertainment and PC Markets. The company has deployed and
planned technologies for games consoles, PC\'s, arcade entertainment
machines, digital set-top boxes, in car information/entertainment systems,
and mobile devices. Since it was founded in 1985, the company has
introduced, via licensing arrangements or directly, a succession of
innovative technologies, silicon chips and add-in boards, which have played
a major role in the development of multimedia and computer-based
entertainment systems. Imagination Technologies Group plc has its corporate
headquarters in the United Kingdom and is publicly traded on the London
Stock Exchange (FTSE:IMG). More information is available on the Imagination
Technologies web site at www.imgtec.com
About Metagence Technologies
Metagence Technologies - a division of Imagination Technologies - produces
unique multi-threaded programmable DSP IP cores that allow real-time
response while supporting efficient multi-function operation. Using true
hardware multi-threading, the META family of processors deliver complex DSP
and mathematical capabilities, real-time operation, flexibility and low
power consumption essential to the next generation of entertainment and
communications products. Comprehensive library and tool support enable
embedded system designers to produce highly integrated META architecture
based products quickly and easily.
The Metagence Technologies Meta processor provides multiple programming
contexts (threads) that can operate independently and concurrently. This
allows systems that are conventionally partitioned into DSP and
general-purpose functions to be implemented on one device with zero overhead
for the switch from one thread to another and instant response to external
stimuli. Visit www.metagence.com