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A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog
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    A View From The Top is a Blog dedicated to System-Level Design and Embedded Software.
  • About the Author

    Tom De Schutter
    Tom De Schutter is responsible for driving the virtual prototyping business at Synopsys. He joined Synopsys through the acquisition of CoWare where he was the product marketing manager for transaction-level models. Tom has over 10 years of experience in system-level design through different marketing and engineering roles. Before joining the marketing team he led the transaction-level modeling team at CoWare.

    Achim Nohl
    Achim Nohl is a solution architect at Synopsys, responsible for virtual prototypes in the context of software development and verification. Achim holds a diploma degree in Electrical Engineering from the Institute for Integrated Signal Processing Systems at the Aachen University of Technology, Germany. Before joining Synopsys, Achim has been working in various engineering and marketing roles for LISATek and CoWare. Achim also writes the blog Virtual Prototyping Tales on Embedded.com.

IP Accelerated

Posted by Tom De Schutter on June 3rd, 2014

The recently announced Synopsys IP Accelerated initiative perfectly illustrates how the functionality of a device is equally influenced by the hardware and the software. To enable applications on a particular device to use the interface IP like USB or Ethernet, a software program called a device driver is required to map the generic requests to the underlying hardware functions. Writing a device driver requires an in-depth understanding of how the hardware and software work for a given platform function.

The DesignWare IP Prototyping Kits and DesignWare IP Virtual Development Kits that will be offered by Synopsys will provide software developers a fully working reference design with reference software to develop the device driver for a DesignWare IP in the context of a typical design setup. This ensures much earlier and faster IP-specific software development and enables earlier software availability to speed up hardware-software validation and optimization.

Watch the demo on how to accelerate software bring up and debug with DesignWare IP VDKs.

As this blog is focused on exploring the benefits of virtual prototypes, let’s zoom in a bit more on the DesignWare IP VDKs and explore what value these can provide to software developers. While the software content keeps growing, both in size and complexity, companies continue to want to bring new products to market more quickly. It is thus only logical that there is a need to start software development earlier.

Virtual prototyping is a great way to achieve this as you can detach the ability to start software development from hardware availability. As explained in previous blog posts, it however takes time to adopt the virtual prototyping methodology as companies need to establish a modeling team and align virtual prototyping modeling with the software developers’ timeline and requirements.

DesignWare IP VDKs solves this for a particular software development task: each DesignWare IP VDK consists of a reference virtual prototype running reference software. The VDKs also come with Eclipse-based tools that interface seamlessly with the most popular embedded software debuggers. This means that the VDKs can be instantly used to bring up, test and debug DesignWare IP-specific software. The reference design is based on the familiar ARM Versatile Express development board and consists of a multi-core Cortex-A57 Fast Model from ARM. Since the DesignWare IP transaction-level model in the VDK is configurable, software developers can match the IP configuration to the one used in their specific design.

DesignWare IP VDKs

While software complexity won’t go away, new tools and methodologies help mitigate the risk of late software availability. It is therefore important that IP vendors embrace this methodology and provide the right software development solutions for designs that use their IP. The DesignWare IP VDKs show how out-of-the-box reference designs running reference software can speed time-to-market by providing a ready to start software bring up, debug and test solution for the IP-dependent software. That is truly a great way to accelerate IP-based product designs.

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