Posted by Michael Posner on February 19, 2016
I ran into the article below titled Emulation vs. Prototyping.
This article ALMOST got it right (IMO), but not quite. Firstly it should not be “vs.”, the two technologies are complementary and typically used side by side so it should be “&”. Secondly, with todays challenges the trend is that engineering teams start with Prototyping, not Emulation. Here I am not talking about Virtual Prototyping which we all know is designed for very early in the project usage, I am talking about FPGA-based Physical Prototyping.
The reason is that early SW development is so important and in addition you need to quickly thrash out system level issues. The only way to capture these issues is to run the software, typically an OS, against the hardware and you want to enable a mass of software engineers with these models. Physical Prototyping with a product such as HAPS enables this. There was a SNUG customer presentation by Realtek in Taiwan on this very subject:
http://www.synopsys.com/Community/SNUG/pages/proceedingLp.aspx?loc=Taiwan&locy=2015 Look for TA5.2 Earliest SW/HW Co-Development for Complex SoCs Using ProtoCompiler Enabled FPGA Prototyping Platforms
The presentation presents the use of HAPS ProtoCompiler with HAPS systems to enable early software development and hardware verification.
Remember you still bring up emulation to debug the HW issues that cannot be resolved with pure prototyping.
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