Wireless Systems Design

DSP Goes From Algorithm To Implementation

To implement algorithms, digital-signal-processing (DSP) developers have had to rely upon design flows that use manual approaches. Aside from being time consuming, the manual process can invite errors. To enable faster and more efficient DSP design cycles, Catalytic, Inc. announced the first in a series of DSP design-automation software products. The Fixed-Point DSP Studio creates an automated path from algorithm specification to implementation.

Essentially, the software speeds floating-point to fixed-point conversion for users who are implementing systems using C or register-transfer-level (RTL) logic. By providing fixed-point variables in MATLAB, it shortens the implementation time for fixed-point DSP algorithms. In doing so, it claims to accelerate MATLAB verification simulations by up to 20X. An interactive graphical user interface (GUI) manages the conversion process.

Starting from a floating-point algorithm in MATLAB, users of the Fixed-Point DSP Studio convert to a fixed-point version. Using the DSP Studio simulation-acceleration and analysis capabilities, they then explore that version within the MATLAB environment. The Catalytic Fixed-Point Studio is designed for DSP development teams that employ MATLAB as an algorithm development environment and implement algorithms on fixed-point processors, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

The Fixed-Point DSP Studio includes three components: the Toolbox, Analyzer, and Accelerator. The DSP Studio Toolbox adds fixed-point arithmetic to MATLAB. In addition, it supports common processor-specific operations, such as multiply with shift and saturate. To simplify the conversion of designs to fixed-point versions, it relies on type propagation. The operations that use variables that are defined as fixed-point types automatically produce fixed-point results. In processor-specific versions of the DSP Studio Toolbox, operations produce results that are identical bitwise to fixed-point processors from Texas Instruments and Analog Devices.

The DSP Studio Analyzer offers an interactive GUI for the analysis and debugging of floating- to fixed-point conversions. It also displays the effects of automatic type propagation on all variables. The analyzer's call-graph and error-reporting features facilitate the traversal of the design and debugging process. They also manage the conversion process.

The DSP Studio Accelerator decreases simulation times of floating-point and fixed-point MATLAB programs. The accelerator is seamlessly integrated with the MATLAB environment. Typically, it claims to provide simulation speed-ups of 5X to 10X.

The Fixed-Point DSP Studio will begin shipping this quarter on Windows operating systems. Pricing starts at $4995 for an annual license.

Catalytic, Inc.
1076A East Meadow Circle, Palo Alto, CA 94303; (650) 846-2555, FAX: (650) 846-2557, www.catalyticinc.com.

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