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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.
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    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.

Just About Enough Virtual Prototyping

Posted by Tom De Schutter on August 25th, 2014

While traveling back to California from the U.K., I had a layover in Chicago, which is probably all too familiar to most United Airlines frequent flyer members. Everything went according to schedule until everyone boarded and the plane still didn’t take off. The pilot explained to us that there was a problem with the hatch for the refueling of the aircraft. We were stuck in the plane for about 2 hours. Eventually the captain announced “We have just about enough fuel to get us to San Francisco.” While I don’t doubt that United wouldn’t allow an airplane to take off if it had  “just about enough fuel,” it was an interesting set of words to hear from the captain. This made me wonder what does, “just about enough” mean in the context of software development and virtual prototyping.

An interesting measure of lines of code: students of the Code.org tutorials have written 1,969,497,657 lines of code. About 100 of these must have been from my son who went through a couple of their online coding tutorials. It is a great way to get your children introduced to programming.

And as beautifully illustrated on http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/million-lines-of-code/ the lines of code in products have dramatically increased over time. So what is “just about enough code” in that context? Apparently it is very dependent on the product, e.g.  software in cars is now reaching 100 million lines of code.

Any way you look at it, the software content is growing in just about every imaginable electronics product. And with over 18 million students trying out the tutorials of Code.org, the interest in “code” is growing as well.

With such a reliance on software to drive electronics, “just about enough” code isn’t cutting it. Neither is being “just about on-time” to have software available to release a new product. The new heartbeat of electronics products requires an equivalent heartbeat on the software development side. Like in real life, you wouldn’t want any sort of heart rhythm disorder (an abnormal variation from the normal heartbeat). While virtual prototyping might not save lives preventing heart rhythm disorders, it can help you achieve a healthy heartbeat to align software development alongside hardware development. And the great thing is that “just about enough” virtual prototyping will ensure that you can develop more than enough software to successfully launch your product with the right functionality and on time!

 

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