The promise of electronic-system-level (ESL) design tools rests on their top-down approach to development. In an ideal environment, engineers would easily model complex systems while maintaining full support for the C/C++ and hardware description languages. Summit Design's Visual Elite 4.0 ESL tool claims to provide such a platform. This product features an Advanced SystemC Modeling front end along with native text support.
For the first time, Visual Elite also offers built-in SystemC native constructs. These constructs help to accelerate design modeling and verification. As a result, they make the tool more useful to hardware designers and C/C++ coders. One of the main barriers to the adoption of SystemC has been that it is too software-oriented for hardware designers. It also lacks some of the hardware notations. Summit Design claims that this barrier can be overcome with its platform, which lets users employ language constructs through analysis and verification tools.
Additionally, Visual Elite now supports a complete native SystemC file structure with no need for importing or special instrumentation. With the product toolset, users can utilize any existing designs. The tool also offers a SystemC-centric platform. It provides viewing duality into the code from both a language and a design perspective. A design-introspection view offers a hardware-centric view of modules, interface structures, and hierarchies. A code-introspection view gives a C/C++ view on the language structure (classes, etc.). All of those view browsers and the text editor are synchronized and active during modeling and simulation.
The Advanced SystemC Modeling feature offers users Hierarchical Channel constructs with an Interface Pin, Binder Object, List, and visualization of the inherited interface classes. A SystemC-oriented GUI to all C/C++ declarations and object types also is included. It flaunts special attribute wizards.
Among the new transaction-level-verification tools offered by Visual 4.0 are a transaction view in waveform and hierarchical channel interface method calls. In addition, thread-switching monitors allow the user to switch and monitor the threads in the waiting queue, Stack visualization, and Watch windows. Those same capabilities are provided for the "on-text" object value feedbacks. Visual also allows debugging during design elaboration.
This tool suite supports graphical state machines and the mapping of SystemC RTL to VHDL. The System Architect package, which offers Architecture Analysis, supports a visualization of token distribution in the graphical waveform. It also boasts new generic models for PCI bus and IEEE 1394 performance models, processors, and more. Visual Elite is priced starting from $15,000.
Summit Design, Inc.
35 Corporate Dr., Burlington, MA 01803; (781) 685-4954,
FAX: (781) 685-4601, www.sd.com.