The highest-performing acceleration technology for Java-enabled handsets.


Introduction

Recent months have witnessed the proliferation of new applications of Java™ in various embedded and small footprint devices, such as mobile handsets and PDAs. Java is now established as the de facto standard for delivering application content and services to mobile handsets as is evident with the increasing number of Java applications available for the mobile handset.

The main challenge facing designers of these products is to overcome the performance problems associated with embedded Java implementations while staying within the cost and design constraints of the target product. Since performance directly affects the "user experience", and hence the value that Java technology provides the end-user, a need has been created for a powerful, yet efficient Java acceleration solution.

A number of CPU vendors and silicon IP providers have introduced hardware acceleration techniques for improving the performance of Java programs on embedded devices. Despite superficial differences of approach, most of these companies have concentrated on a single aspect of the problem - overcoming the interpretative overhead of existing Java Virtual Machine (JVM™) implementations. As summarized in Figure 4, these "solutions" have clearly fallen short of meeting the performance and cost objectives required for the next wave of Java-enabled mobile handsets.

Digital Communication Technologies has approached the problem of Java acceleration from a different perspective and have developed a radically different solution. The solution, called Bigfoot, delivers superior performance, ease of integration and the lowest system memory requirement compared with other Java acceleration technologies available today. Bigfoot benefits the entire wireless value chain from handset manufactures to service providers to the end user.

What is Bigfoot™?

Bigfoot is a Java acceleration technology that utilizes a balanced hardware and software technique that integrates seamlessly with existing RISC processors. Bigfoot delivers industry-leading performance, size, and cost enabling the design of a new breed of Java-enabled mobile products.

Compatible with ARM and XScale processors

Easy, non-evasive integration reduces time to market

Exceptional performance, benchmarked at 11 CM/MHz

Small memory requirement, reduces static memory footprint lowering cost

On-the-fly translation provides very fast load times

Efficient loader enables the execution of larger Java applications

Low power consumption

Compact size, less than 5000 gates

Support for J2ME-CLDC/MIDP applications

 

Bigfoot integration
Figure 1 - Click to enlarge

Handset Benefits Provided by Java

Simple Integration of DCT Java Execution Environment

Compatible with ARM and XScale processors

Integrates seamlessly with existing operating systems, system code, and tools

Substantially reduces time-to-market as compared to other acceleration implementations

Exceptional Java Performance

Scalable from 11 CM/MHz, up to 8 times faster than current solutions

Efficient loader enables the execution of larger Java applications

Fast load times provided by on-the-fly translation

Small Memory Footprint

Reduces memory requirements by 2 to 3 times versus current solutions

Significantly lowers system memory cost

Services vs. Performance
Figure 2 - Click to enlarge

 

Cost vs. Performance
Figure 3 - Click to enlarge

Bigfoot Compared to Other Java Acceleration Techniques

Although software-based Java Virtual Machines (JVM) are the most prevalent technology used to Java-enable mobile handsets, JVMs lack the performance required to support current and future Java applications as they continue to grow in functionality and capability. Because of this, other Java acceleration techniques have been developed to overcome the performance shortfalls of JVM techniques.

Most of these Java acceleration techniques attempt to enhance performance by making the interpreter faster. An alternate way of addressing the problem is to try to make the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler simpler. JIT-based techniques of executing Java, deployed on modern, high performance RISC processors, have an inherent performance advantage over dedicated Java processors and co-processors. This is because advanced RISC architectures have been designed for speed, and do not suffer from the bytecode bottleneck inherent in native Java processors and co-processors. Bigfoot eliminates the disadvantages of JIT (complexity, code-bloat, etc.) and provides all the advantages of interpretation with the high performance associated with JIT. Bigfoot's best-in-class feature set also provides excellent energy efficiency, small memory requirement, and an exceptionally low implementation cost.

Java Acceleration Techniques Comparison
Figure 4 - Click to enlarge

 

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