Next week on Monday, August 19th, Gary Smith will
run a webinar called "ESL - Are You Ready?"
Atrenta's Mike Gianfagna, fellow co-blogger Jason Andrews, and I have had discussions
with Gary since DAC in Austin about how the ESL flow has changed. One of the
key new items is that hardware-assisted verification, especially emulation, has
become the heartbeat of system design flows. Gary will give an interesting system
design overview and update with Mike, Jason, and myself standing by for
questions and discussion during the webinar.
You may remember that Gary introduced during DAC 2012 four different software virtual
prototypes and two silicon virtual prototypes. They fit well into the
schematic hardware / software design flow as illustrated in the graph
The different virtual prototypes are shown in the
illustration, and Gary has described them as follows:
Software Virtual Prototype 1 (SWVP 1): The
Architect's Workbench used by the architectural team for design formation and
exploration, usually modeled in C/C++ or M (Mathwork's language). At this stage
the microprocessors, foundation platforms, and some applications platforms are
Silicon Virtual Prototype 1 (SVP 1): The design has
started, hardware accelerators are added, transactional models are developed, and in-house platforms are designed.
Silicon Virtual Prototype 1 (SVP 2): Existing
RTL blocks are inserted, System C blocks are synthesized, and the design is
completed and verified. The "Golden Netlist" is the output of this
phase. The two different types, SVP 1 and SVP 2, could be developed by the same
Software Virtual Prototype 2 (SWVP 2):
Applications code is written on a higher level virtual prototype.
Software Virtual Prototype 3 (SWVP 3): Firmware is
written and applications code is run on the SVP, checking for latency and power.
Software Virtual Prototype 4 (SWVP 4): This
prototype is used by product marketing and sales to check out the design with
prospective customers for possible modifications.
One key, according to Gary, was that the four different SWVPs
serve four different functions and, therefore, have four different users, four
different specifications, and four different price points!
Well, it turns out that the interrelation between the
different prototypes is quite intricate and, over the last two years or so, it
has become increasingly difficult to keep them all in sync. Power-related
issues - and Gary will explain that in more detail - have, in particular, caused some interesting
effects. As a result, emulation and hardware-assisted verification acceleration
have moved into the center of system design and have become its heartbeat, to interact
with the different types of prototypes and to allow development of software and
hardware at different levels.
But I won't spoil the fun and give everything away. Instead,
join us next week for the webinar called "ESL -
Are You Ready?". You can sign up directly here.
Talk to you next week!