Posted by Tom De Schutter on June 3, 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.
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.
Patrick Sheridan is responsible for Synopsys' system-level solution for virtual prototyping. In addition to his responsibilities at Synopsys, from 2005 through 2011 he served as the Executive Director of the Open SystemC Initiative (now part of the Accellera Systems Initiative). Mr. Sheridan has 30 years of experience in the marketing and business development of high technology hardware and software products for Silicon Valley companies.
Malte Doerper is responsible for driving the software oriented virtual prototyping business at Synopsys. Today he is based in Mountain View, California. Malte also spent over 7 years in Tokyo, Japan, where he led the customer facing program management practice for the Synopsys system-level products. Malte has over 12 years’ experiences in all aspects of system-level design ranging from research, engineering, product management and business development. Malte joined Synopsys through the CoWare acquisition, before CoWare he worked as researcher at the Institute for Integrated Signal Processing Systems at the Aachen University of Technology, Germany.
Tom De Schutter
Tom De Schutter is responsible for driving the physical 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.