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Multi-Core with virtualization, a solution for future smart phones

11 August 2010 Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum

eMuCo (Embedded Multi-Core Processing for Mobile Communications) opens the door to the next generation of smart phones bringing for first time the combination of multi-core and virtualization to mobile phones. eMuCo started as a European initiative of top universities and leading companies in the mobile embedded market to explore the principles, suitability and commercialization feasibility of Multicore and Virtualization as solution to provide higher computational performance and flexibility still keeping low power consumption. The proposal was supported by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research and technological development with 2.9M EUR, successfully carried out by the consortium and coordinated by Ruhr-University Bochum.

While multi core as already happened in PCs some years ago brings more performance with less power through parallelization, virtualization isolates the SW from the underlying HW so that there is no direct access and control from the SW to the HW. “Today's smartphone users want to download applications and individually customize their phones according to their needs and preferences” said Attila Bilgic, co-coordinator of the eMuCo project, “download applications and keep protection of personal data and basic system against viruses and malicious code can be prevented through virtualization”.

As one of the outputs of the project, the eMuCo software platform which enables efficient usage of multi-cores on mobile embedded computing devices by using virtualization techniques has been released as open source on June 8th 2010. The platform is based on a small operating system kernel accompanied with various operating system components allowing manifold usage scenarios. “The system opens access to the latest embedded multi-core architectures offering efficient programming and processing of a broad range of different applications, ranging from special purpose applications such as protocol implementation to whole virtualized commodity operating systems” said Adam Lackorzynski operating system architect.

The spectrum of applications for mobile phones will be broader with the higher processing capacity brought by multi-core and the system flexibility brought by virtualization. “Multi-core & virtualization solution enables higher processing capacity keeping the power consumption with the added-value of security and flexibility to bring services and applications fast to market making possible a new generation of smartphones” said Maria Elizabeth Gonzalez co-coordinator of eMuCo project, “It is expected that the emerging multi-core & virtualization technology revolutionize how a mobile phone will be perceived and opens new business models in the telecommunication market”. The openness of the eMuCo software as well as its security, offers a platform for a manifold of new applications. Many companies could create applications and get paid by the end user. This creates a new market which is in first steps already paved by the iPhone and the open Google Android phones.


This project was co-coordinated by Dr. Attila Bilgic and Dr. Maria Elizabeth Gonzalez, carried out by a consortium of academic and industrial partners: Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Infineon (Germany), IBM Rational ((Sweden), ARM (United Kingdom), Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), University of York (United Kingdom), and "Politehnica" University of Timisoara (Romania).

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