A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog


Embedded Systems Conference – First Day of Show


The Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) opened here yesterday on Tuesday. Attendance on the show floor was pretty good at the beginning, as this picture shows. The traffic ebbed down a little bit during the day and keeping the show floor open until 8pm was good for food and beer consumption, but I had little technical interaction with customers after 6:30pm.

I also attended the conference watching my EDA track. In the morning Synfora’s Vinod Kathail gave a great overview about how to beam ideas into dedicated hardware using high-level synthesis. we also discussed briefly how users can apply high level synthesis to make hardware software trade-offs and assess very fast which portions of the software could be offloaded into accelerators.

My own presentation on how to improve embedded software productivity using prototyping went very well. I had about 35 attendees, I checked on the distribution and it was about a 50%-50% hardware vs. software developers. Quite encouraging. We had good discussion on how to handle the “budget difference” between hardware and software development tools, how to deal with specific memory corruptions and races using a virtual platform, and also how to deal with prototyping of hard macros which may be licenses from a technology provider like TSMC.

I also had a chance to walk the show floor. The embedded world is really quite big … everything from 8-bit microcontrollers to higher complexity processors and SoCs. The coolest new technology I saw on the floor must have been CriticalBlue’s prism, which really eases the transition into the multi-core era. Based on traces generated from serial code execution, CriticalBlue’s Prism allows users to identify dependencies, races, locks etc. and then lets them assess what would happen to execution time and other characteristics if the same code would be distributed across several cores. What really impressed me was the interactivity. Instead of trying to do it all automatically, the user interactively looks into different parallelization techniques and gains a good understanding of their impact without having to implement all the different options by hand. Quite nice. This should work very well with our virtual platforms, which could be used to generate the required software execution traces.

The show will be open until Thursday. I am not sure whether you can still get the discount, but promotion code CTEDA15 may still get you 25% off when registering for the Embedded Systems Conference. See you there!

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