A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog

In this month’s blog I would like to focus on a recent prototyping solution announcement from Synopsys. On September 16, Synopsys announced the new HAPS-80 FPGA-based prototyping systems, part of Synopsys’ end-to-end prototyping solution strategy.

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Lately, my children and I are closely following a new show on ABC called “Battlebots”. The concept is as simple as it is cool—have a massive bulletproof arena where two remote-controlled robots battle it out until one is knocked out or the time is up (and a jury decides the winner). The battles are all about making physical contact with the other robot to either directly deal them damage or push them into the hazards of the arena.

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A couple of weeks ago I was with a virtual prototyping user who described the benefits his company has seen from deploying virtual prototyping for early software development. The use of virtual prototyping has been rolled out progressively to more projects over the years, making it possible for the company to measure its impact on the software availability schedule and the impact has been dramatic. He stated that the software team’s stance on virtual prototyping has changed from “we don’t want it” to “we will tolerate it” to “we want more”.

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I recently talked to an engineering manager responsible for system validation at a major automotive company. The topic was the continuous growth of software content and how to reach the right software quality. He explained that for the part he is responsible for, most software is created by his suppliers. But because the carmaker is ultimately held responsible for any issue with the car, he has to define rigorous requirements that suppliers are required to meet. This applies to both the hardware and software that is delivered to him.

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Almost all electronics devices have some way to connect to other devices. While we don’t really think about it a lot, these interfaces actually have to be quite smart and need to deal with a lot of different device types and/or handle a great deal of data, preferably all while consuming as little power as possible.

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I am writing this blog while traveling though China. In this country of opportunities, new electronics companies show up regularly and some of them are quickly growing to become leaders in their application domain. Of course it helps if your local market is as big, if not bigger, than the U.S. and European market combined.

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From time to time I like to use this blog to provide you with an update about the Better Software. Faster! book that illustrates the best practices in virtual prototyping. This time, I am happy to announce that Mamoru Kani-san, senior manager, R&D department 22, software 2 R&D division, of the corporate software development division of Kyocera Document Solutions wrote a new case study for the book. Kyocera’s case study explains how its software team leveraged virtual prototypes to develop device drivers for the DesignWare IP in their multi-functional printer SoC.

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We are living in the age of pictures. Just about any event or non-event in our life is being captured in a picture. Even more so, a lot of those pictures are being shared with others. It offers us a way to share a moment with the ones who weren’t there. Living with my wife and children in Silicon Valley, far away from our family in Belgium, it provides us with a way to show what we are up to and in that moment shorten the distance with our relatives.

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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.

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As announced on Nov. 5, Synopsys virtual prototyping book achieved a remarkable milestone of more than 3,000 copies in distribution to more than 1,000 companies. The success of the book highlights the interest in virtual prototyping as a key methodology to shift left software development.

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