Semiconductor Engineering: System-on-Chip Integration Complexity and Hardware/Software Contracts

by Frank Schirrmeister, On Oct 26, 2023

Control and status register mismanagement can lead to expensive oversights.

From the earliest days of my career, when designing chips, I have always navigated the interface between hardware and software for semiconductor design in my roles. My initial chip designs included video and audio encoding and decoding, supporting standards like MPEG and H.261. As acceleration parts of hardware/software systems, these had many Control and Status Registers (CSRs) to program. Their management was critical even in the 1990s, and they stood out as both a cornerstone and a potential pitfall.

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