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((To avoid misunderstanding) I am also application engineer.)
Application engineer tends to ignore HW characteristics. But, without HW, SW is useless. Even application engineer in embedded software, would better to know basic stuffs about low-layer. Here are some examples about considering these low-layer characteristics. These examples are to appeal to application engineer.
* Each assembly code line may spend different number of CPU clocks. So, counting assembly code line is useless to check CPU performance.
* Optimized code for "2 CPU + 1RAM" is totally different from the one for "2 CPU + 2 RAM for each". Besides, DMA, Bus arbiter etc may also affect to code.
* In some cases, using compressed data is faster than uncompressed one. For example, using highly-compressed-RLE data on the platform which has very-fast-CPU but slow NVRAM. In this case, dominate factor of performance is "performance of accessing NVRAM". So, compressed data has advantage on this. Besides, overhead for uncompress is very low in case of RLE.
Point in here is, "In embedded environment, even application engineer needs to know about it's HW platform where software runs on."
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