Not content with their position as DSP market leader, Texas Instruments (Houston, TX) last week announced their first samples of digital signal processors (DSPs) capable of operating at a 1-GHz clock rate. This compares to the company's existing 720-MHz products and is a factor of 2 faster than products available from competitors. During a visit to Penton offices in Paramus, NJ, Ray Simar, TI Fellow and Manager of Advanced DSP Architecture Development, pointed out that a limited number of the DSPs are sampling for demonstration now, but that full production DSPs would be ready by the first quarter of 2004.

The demonstration DSPs are being fabricated in a 130-nm process, although production DSPs will be manufactured with an advanced 90-nm process. The new DSP features a deep-pipeline architecture to support faster clock rates. Simar notes that although the clock speed is impressive, it is actually the number of million multiply and accumulate (MMAC) operations that better characterize a DSPs processing power. TI's first DSP, introduced in 1980, for example, operated at a clock rate of 5 MHz and 2.5 MMACs. The new 1-GHz DSP delivers 4000 MMACs, and will be fully software compatible with the company's existing C64x line of DSPs.

This higher processing power equips the new DSPs for a host of applications, including networked video surveillance systems, sonar, digital cellular telephones, video cameras, medical imaging, and wireless media centers capable of processing and transmitting high-definition television signals around a home. In fact, researchers at the University of Southern California are developing an artificial vision system based on the 1-GHz DSPs that will enable vision-impaired users to improve their visibility from 16 pixels to 1000 pixels. This resolution is the difference between only differentiating light from darkness and being able to recognize large objects and detect movements. movements. For more information on TI's demonstration of the new DSP, please visit their site at Texas Instruments ==> >http://lists.planetee.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eA0CWyaL0Gth08CD0A1