What is a Processor and Software in Context of Reliability Analysis?
From Rick C@21:1/5 to All on Thu Sep 3 11:15:50 2020
How is a "processor" defined when considering requirements on developing a design? A project I am on is shoving software into HDL to design an FPGA which is being considered "hardware". I'm not fighting it because FPGAs are what I do. Board level
design is a necessary evil to support the FPGA. If not for the desire to make approval easier the FPGA would not be on the board.
I'm concerned that the thinking it will take less effort to get approval on the FPGA than approval on the equivalent software running on an MCU. I'm not seeing a basis for this comparison.
The context is medical equipment, specifically a ventilator. I'm working on one of the many open source projects that have sprung up in response to COVID-19.
The functionality of the FPGA is to detect the alarm conditions. To do that the FPGA requires sensor readings of pressures, O2 levels, temperature and a couple of voltages. Fixed calculations will be performed, not under control of any software, rather
state machines. The issue is whether any of this constitutes "processor software" since at some level there is source code that is compiled by tools.
Compare to the C programs being developed for the MCU as well as to the schematic editors and layout software that are used to generate the Gerber files and pick and place files for automated assembly.
Where does the definition of "processor software" begin and end?
As an aside, I'm much more fluent in VHDL than Verilog. This project has a number of members who are engineers with a well known British consumer product manufacturer. They seem to only work in Verilog, so they have yet to find anyone who can
participate in a code review.
If anyone here would like to help with the project we can use programmers and especially someone to help with the requirements documents... what little we have. OpenVent-Bristol https://openventbristol.co.uk/
Even better is someone with connections to companies who would be interested in obtaining required approvals and manufacturing the devices.