News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "System Boot with External Media", for Approval

September 11, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Chudgar, Keyur (San Jose, CA); Sankaran, Kumar (San Jose, CA), filed on February 21, 2013, was made available online on August 28, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Applied Micro Circuits Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In computing, booting up is the initial set of operations that a computer system performs when electrical power to the central processing unit ('CPU') is switched on. The process begins when a computer is turned on for the first time or is re-energized after being turned off, and ends when the computer is ready to perform its normal operations. The boot procedures can include performing diagnostic tests (such as the power-on self-test), locating and initializing peripheral devices, and then finding, loading and starting an operating system ('OS').

"The first stage of the boot process is a program that is executed in-place at the address that the system processor is mapped to at start up. This address is known as the reset vector. The boot code contained in the program sets up the system memory. The boot code depends on the components used on the individual boards and cannot be generalized enough so that the proper sequence could be embedded into the processor hardware. The boot code then loads the second stage boot loader or the OS kernel into the system memory.

"Typically, for a system processor to execute the program in-place in the memory, the memory must be connected to the system processor via a parallel bus which allows execution in-place. Today's embedded products are real-estate sensitive however, and any parallel interface connected to the system processor greatly increases the amount of space dedicated to wiring. At the same time, embedded systems need to be able to boot from external devices that connect over a serial peripheral interface ('SPI'). Since serial interface devices do not have in-place execution capability, the system processor's reset vector cannot be mapped to the location in the external device's memory.

"The above-described description is merely intended to provide a contextual overview of current techniques for booting embedded systems and is not intended to be exhaustive."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects described herein. This summary is not an extensive overview of the disclosed subject matter. It is intended to neither identify key nor critical elements of the disclosure nor delineate the scope thereof. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

"In an example embodiment, a system comprises a system processor configured for booting off an external device and a memory configured for facilitating an environment for the system processor to execute boot code, wherein the memory is communicably coupled to the system processor. The system also comprises a microcontroller that is configured for copying the boot code from the external device to the memory and is further configured for mapping a reset vector of the system to the boot code in the memory.

"In another example embodiment, a method comprises determining an external device to boot off of and copying a boot code from the external device to a first memory that is communicably coupled to a system processor. The method also comprises mapping a reset vector of the system processor to the boot code in the first memory and executing the boot code in-place in the first memory.

"In an example embodiment, a system includes a means for determining an external device to boot off of and a means for copying a boot code from the external device to a memory. The system also includes a means for redirecting a reset vector of the system processor to the boot code in the memory. The system additionally includes a means for initializing the system processor with the boot code.

"The following description and the annexed drawings set forth in detail certain illustrative aspects of the subject disclosure. These aspects are indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles of various disclosed aspects can be employed and the disclosure is intended to include all such aspects and their equivalents. Other advantages and novel features will become apparent from the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an example, non-limiting embodiment of a system to facilitate booting off an external device in accordance with various aspects described herein.

"FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example, non-limiting embodiment of a system to facilitate booting off an external device in accordance with various aspects described herein.

"FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an example, non-limiting embodiment of a system to copy boot code from an external device in accordance with various aspects described herein.

"FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an example, non-limiting embodiment of a system to perform diagnostic tests in accordance with various aspects described herein.

"FIG. 5 illustrates a flow diagram of an example, non-limiting embodiment of a method for booting off an external device.

"FIG. 6 illustrates a flow diagram of an example, non-limiting embodiment of a means for determining an external device to boot off of.

"FIG. 7 illustrates a flow diagram of an example, non-limiting embodiment of a means for copying boot code from an external device to a memory.

"FIG. 8 illustrates a flow diagram of an example, non-limiting embodiment of a means for redirecting a reset vector of a system processor to the boot code in a memory.

"FIG. 9 illustrates a flow diagram of an example, non-limiting embodiment of a means for initializing a system processor with boot code.

"FIG. 10 illustrates a block diagram of an example electronic computing environment that can be implemented in conjunction with one or more aspects described herein.

"FIG. 11 illustrates a block diagram of an example data communication network that can be operable in conjunction with various aspects described herein."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Chudgar, Keyur; Sankaran, Kumar. System Boot with External Media. Filed February 21, 2013 and posted August 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=472&p=10&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140821.PD.&OS=PD/20140821&RS=PD/20140821

Keywords for this news article include: Applied Micro Circuits Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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