A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog

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Good Reasons to Drop Old Habits? Change is Hard!

I am involved in discussions about adoption of system-level technologies a lot. System-level design in EDA and embedded software are always intertwined as the software is the main factor changing when going beyond RTL. Given that system-level design technologies expand beyond the traditional realm of hardware, their adoption is non-trivial for project teams. The overall situation reminds me more and more of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”: for success several factors have to fall in place together, not all of them in our control.

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Posted in Abstraction Levels, Embedded Software, Virtual Prototypes


How Many Apps Platforms Can a User Handle?

What do the Inchron Real Time Congress this week and my last weekend home project have in common? They both are all about complexity, real-time, apps and platforms those apps run on. In automotive and consumer domains, apps are running on platforms in systems of systems. The question to me at this point is how many platforms – like AUTOSAR, GENIVI, Android, IOS, Windows Mobile etc. – as well as versions of them can an apps interested user really handle?

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Posted in Abstraction Levels, Automotive, Embedded Software, Models, Wireless


Who Knows System-Level Design Best?

Earlier this week I had the pleasure attending the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF). I was there to present on the Synopsys AUTOSAR activities, but was able to get a front row seat during Rich Beyer’s key note. I must say, the first FTF key note back as a public company after their IPO in may, left me nothing less but impressed. It also made me think about who really owns the system-level knowledge these days.

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Posted in Automotive, Shows and Events


Ethernet and Fault Tolerance in Automotive Systems

As a follow up to the DAC workshop called “Intra and Inter-Vehicle Networking in Automotive: Past, Present, and Future”, fellow Blogger Karen Bartelson and I had the pleasure of talking to Wilfired Steiner, Senior Research Engineer from TTTEch, about the challenges of the design of fault tolerant systems.

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Posted in Automotive, Shows and Events, Virtual Prototypes


Management Apparently not a problem for ESL Adoption

The Mentor ESL panel took place in its 9th year on DAC Tuesday in front of a very big “free-lunch-audience”. Wally Rhines kicked off the event in his usual data-driven manner, identifying the three types of design disciplines encompassing the SoC Design process: First there are “Hardware Custom IP Designers” challenged to shorten IP development and verification lead times. Second there are “Software Developers” who need to reduce software development, optimization and verification lead times. The third group are “SoC Architects and Integrators” who are challenged to design the full SoC for performance, low power and scalability.

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Posted in Abstraction Levels, Shows and Events


DAC Sunday – For Networking in Cars, Ethernet has an Edge

No, not social networking in cars. I’ll leave that for a different time … This is about data and control carrying networks in cars and where they are going. Yesterday I attended here at DAC the Sunday workshop on “Intra and Inter-Vehicle Networking in Automotive: Past, Present, and Future”. It seems like Ethernet has won the battle, albeit not for all areas in the car.

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Posted in Automotive, Embedded Software, Featured, Shows and Events


Further Tightening Implementation Loops

The industry did it again! Once again we are tightening the loops from system-level to implementation even further. 2010 was the year in which TSMC added the system-level flow to their reference flows for the first time. This year’s TSMC Reference Flow 12 marks the second revision of a system-level flow in which we are connecting a semiconductor manufacturer.all the way up to the system-level!

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Posted in Abstraction Levels, Embedded Software, Models


The Future of Urban Mobility – I Have Driven It!

I have driven what could be the future of Urban Mobility. I have driven in it, to be precise – somebody else was controlling it. The future looks exciting, a bit concerning at times, but definitely interesting. Interesting especially for electronics, because the type of developments necessary to enable future Urban Mobility is pretty mind boggling and a definite driver for semiconductors and new design techniques.

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Posted in Automotive, Embedded Software


Back to the Stone Age at ESC San Jose

The embedded systems conference is a mystery to me. It always has been. And this year it has been the weirdest of all. A dinosaur? Really? Yes, really, I too the picture of “Samson” below …. Something is not right here. Aren’t they a sign of extinction? I must have missed something in my marketing class. Or the engineer in me is finally trying to break free again and does not get it. No wonder, according to the “Specimens of Tyrannosaurus” Wikpedia page, I also had missed the eBay auction in 2000 in which “Z-rex” was not sold for $8 million and then was subsequently renamed. Oh well.

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Posted in Embedded Software, Shows and Events, Virtual Prototypes


Disruptive Ripple Effects From Implementation to Systems

The big topic these days seem to be the effects of 3D and silicon technology. Even though I am now more of a system-level guy, I do have full appreciation of technology effects given that for the first chip I developed, I had to design a three transistor memory cell which ended up in a FFT Chip for HDTV research. An interesting question I get asked more often these days is how the changes in semiconductor technology and assembly will impact the system level. My answer is: profoundly! How fast we will get there and how disruptive they will be, remains an open question to me.

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Posted in Abstraction Levels