Electronic Design

Jazelle RCT

The ARM architecture received a pleasant boost this year with the Cortex-A8 platform. Part of the new architecture adds the 16-bit Thumb-2EE instruction set that operates in the ThumbEE mode.

Designers can license the Cortex-A8 architecture. However, this technology won't show up in the ARM-based embedded microcontrollers that dominate the 32-bit microcontroller arena until next year.

The ThumbEE mode is part of the Jazelle RCT (Jazelle Runtime Compilation Target) services that deliver an enhanced version of the existing Thumb2 instruction set. This 16-bit instruction set is very close in encoding efficiency to Java bytecodes. The latter are executed directly in the existing Jazelle DBX (for Direct Bytecode eXecution) architecture, which requires significantly more transistors than RCT.

Because it can target instruction sets like Microsoft .NET MSIL/Compact Framework (C#) and Parrot (Perl and Python) in addition to Java, RCT has more flexibility. C and C++ may have some competition in this more flexible platform. www.arm.com

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