DSP IP core targets mobile handsets, DTV, and automotive applications

February 14, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
Tensilica has launched its latest DSP core, aiming at complex image/video signal processing functions in mobile handsets, tablets, digital television (DTV), automotive, video game and computer vision based applications.

The IVP dataplane processor (DPU) has a custom instruction set tuned for imaging and video pixel processing that gives it an instruction throughput of over 16x the number of 16-bit pixel operations compared to that of the typical host CPU with single-issue vector instructions. In addition to its raw instruction throughput advantage to host CPUs, the imaging specific compound instructions supported by IVP give it a higher peak performance of 10 to 20x and much higher energy efficiency. IVP's instruction set has more than 300 imaging, video and vision-oriented vector operations, each of which applies to 32 or more 16-bit pixels per cycle. For a smart motion search on 16-bit data over a 1920x1080 frame with 256x16 pixel search range and 9x3 pixel block size, IVP can achieve a rate of 142 sums of absolute differences per cycle. In addition, a normalized cross-correlation function on 16-bit pixel data with 32-bit accuracy achieves 1 million 8x8 blocks per second.

This is achieved through a 4-way VLIW (very long instruction word) architecture with a 32-way vector SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) dataset. The architecture includes an integrated DMA (direct memory access) transfer engine with up to 10 GBytes/second of throughput and local memory throughput of 1024 bits per cycle (sixty-four 16-bit pixels/cycle) to keep up with the rapid pace of resolution and frame rate requirements. The IVP also features many imaging-specific operations to accelerate 8-, 16- and 32-bit pixel data types and video operation patterns. Implemented in an automatic synthesis, place-and-route flow in 28nm HPM process, regular Vt, a 32-bit integral image computation on 16-bit pixel data at 1080p30 consumes 10.8 mW. This function is commonly used in applications such as face and object detection and gesture recognition.

IVP is supported by a network of third party application developers who are actively porting leading-edge image applications to the IVP platform including innovative multi-frame image capture and video pre- and post-processing algorithms, as