Lori Matassa Platform Software Architect, Intel
Embedded computing is really computing that's special-purposed, and I will compare that to general-purpose computing. What most of us are used to is general-purpose computing. We have a computer that we can install any software we want to on it. So, it's configured so that you have an operating system that supports certain applications when you load those on it, but you're in charge of configuring that system. An embedded system is special-purpose, which is designed from the ground up for that purpose hardware-wise, so that it has only the devices on it that it needs to have on it, you know, so, you're saving cost that way. And you're building it out for performance reasons with maybe extra devices that you might need for that purpose, but then the software that comes along with it is installed -- designed specifically -- for whatever that system is going to do.
If it's a home energy monitoring system, it'll be loaded with home energy monitoring software. It will have some Wi-Fi connection on it and the software to allow it to communicate to your home router, for example, but it's not going to necessarily allow you to change the software that's on it as the owner of that device. So, an embedded system is special-purpose, where from the hardware to the software, it's only what's needed for that system, and it's not really configurable by the end user.
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