A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog


Proven! ST-Ericsson Virtual Platform usage presentation at DAC 2009

I listened today to the presentation from Olivier Mielo, a software engineer from ST-Ericsson.  It was a very exciting presentation on why virtual platform will be the way to move forward to address the curretn challenges of software development.

In his presentation Olivier talked about the use of a SystemC virtual platform to develop and validate a UMTS layer1 protocol stack. Here are some of the great points that he made.

He first explained the design challenges which included:

  • Needing a “Software centric” approach to address multiple use cases
  • Develop and validate layer 1 (layer 2/3 ) software covering HSXPA protocol while keeping up and running on the new architecture existing layer 1 UTMS R.99 software
  • Reduce the time to get the “final” solution and be confronted to test approval in front of base station as soon as possible as well as be in time for the mass production with customers

He then explained why traditional methods such as FPGA protoypes or stand alone proprietary simulation would not work. Here are his points on FPGA:

  • Need a new net list each time the architecture is changing
  • Not so easy to spread complex design over many FPGA
  • Allows partial visibility on the system through JTAG
  • Difficult to debug multi-cores software without breaking real time conditions

They decided to deploy virtual platforms using CoWare technologies and expertise. After explaining their deployment and use, the following conclusion were reached:

  • Virtual Platform was available to start software development within a month
  • Software development was shorten and completed before RTL
  • Early system integration and validation was done (They had a full Virtual Platform test bench with the base station tester from ANITE integrated)
  • The powerful debug support made their work much easier and reduced the project risks.

You can listen to his presentation by visiting the CoWare booth #3665 at DAC in San Francisco. There will be replays during the rest of the week.

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