Thanks to virtual memory and gigahertz processor clocks, a general applications programmer typically doesn’t have to give much thought to the hardware that runs the programs. Moreover, when he or she writes an application program, perhaps in C or Java, performance problems are usually addressed only after several user complaints have been made. Sometimes the problem is solved by an adjustment to the program code; sometimes it is solved by adding hardware components to the machine that is running the slow application. The embedded systems programmer typically writes programs exclusively in assembly language and does not have the luxury of after-the-fact performance tuning. Performance problems must be identified ...

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