Not all aspects of electronic-system-level (ESL) design have proved as worthy as others. Yet the virtual platform has seen some of the broadest adoption among ESL technologies. These fully functional software models of complete systems have been in use for several years for the acceleration of system development and hardware/software co-verification. Since its May 2006 acquisition of Virtio, Synopsys has worked to transform that company's virtual-platform offerings from their service-oriented, one-off origins into a critical mass of broadly applicable library components. The result is the addition of a system- level library to the DesignWare IP portfolio (see the figure).
The initial library consists of over 50 transaction-level models (TLMs) written in SystemC. It's important to note that the models are tool-independent. That means they will run on any IEEE-1666-compliant SystemC simulator.
The library includes many of the core functional blocks that go into creating a virtual platform: board-level components, bus interconnects and peripherals, debug interfaces, virtual I/O, connectivity models, and user-interface emulation. It also boasts a number of ARM processor cores, system-level Design- Ware cores for standard bus protocols, and a full complement of AMBA components.
Able to run at up to 50 MIPS, the virtual platforms constructed with these models will offer fast simulation runtimes. They also offer binary compatibility so they can run with unmodified software. All have been verified against real-world software drivers. Preconstructed platforms are available as well, including a multimedia-player demo, a processor integration platform, an AMBA reference platform, and a generic test platform.
The library is available now. Users pay only the runtime license fee for the highest-valued model in their platform while the rest execute at no charge.