A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog


Turning on the Virtual Prototyping Hose

Growing up in Belgium, it never occurred to me that rain or for that matter water can be in short supply. Living in California for over 8 years now, I know better. While I still enjoy the fantastic weather in the Bay Area, I do realize the importance of having enough rain and water. Water is one of those resources that we easily take for granted. It is in fact the most important resource, but we are just used to the fact that it flows out of a tap, hose or shower with the turn of a valve. According to recent studies, the last three years of drought were the most severe that California experienced in at least 1,200 years.

In the meantime November and December have turned out to be quite wet. While it is great to fill up the basins again, too much rain in a short time brings its own set up problems, like mud slides and trees falling down. On the other hand, it is clear that Californians aren’t really used to rain and call just about anything the storm of the century, as depicted nicely in following picture:

we will rebuild

This cycle of extreme drought, followed by heavy rain reminds me of the problem software developers are facing. Without a strategy to incrementally get access to targets for software developers, the software development cycle for a particular project looks first like a drought: nothing is available to start software bring-up and then all of a sudden hardware is becoming available all at once and the pressure is on to deal with the software requirements of all IP blocks and subsystems at the same time.

A more incremental software target development plan can mitigate this problem and alleviate the pressure on the software team,  resulting in a better flow between hardware and software and a better product overall, which is available in the market faster.

It is hard to achieve this flow using purely hardware based targets for software development. Inherently virtual prototypes can be available much earlier since there is no dependence on hardware. Plus the nature of having a model-based approach allows you to stage the incremental target availability any which way you want. That means that the software team can drive the stages based on the logical order of software bring-up, debug and test.

incremental VDKs

So whenever you find yourself in need of an earlier software target to mitigate the trend of software development droughts and floods for your project, you might want to turn on the virtual prototyping hose to ease the software development flow.

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