Electronic Design

Design Platform Eases Configurable Computing System Creation

Designers who use the QuickSilver Technologies adaptive computing platform can now take advantage of a complete development environment. The development tools let designers define a custom silicon solution based on the company's adaptive computing system platform in weeks or months rather than the year or more it takes to design a conventional ASIC.

The heart of the platform is the company's adaptive computing machine (ACM), which QuickSilver unveiled last year. The "machine" is a software-configurable array of compute engines and other resources that can be organized, via software, to optimally execute any algorithm. The engines are tied together by a homogeneous matrix interconnect network. Meanwhile, the development environment consists of four components.

The first of these is the Adapt2000 ACM System Platform. It provides an all-software approach using the company's SilverC high-level design language to incorporate the silicon capabilities of multiple conventional chip design approaches (ASIC, DSP, FPGA, and microprocessors) within a single IC—an adaptive computing machine. The Silver-C language can abstract away well over 60% of the overhead tasks, significantly reducing development time and cost.

The second part is the Adapt2000 ACM cooperative license, which empowers designers with access to the Adapt2000 ACM technology pool. The pool is a library of functions in source code and RTL descriptions as well as all the other elements necessary to complete an ACM-based system (verification suites, documentation, compilers, assemblers, etc.). Designers can use the elements as is or enhance or extend the ACM technology and intellectual property (IP).

Third is the Adapt2400 ACM architecture itself. This body of IP is the foundation of a novel class of low-cost, software-programmable ICs that have a small silicon area, consume little power, and are architecturally scalable and flexible. There are four distinct compute node types, a node wrapper for embedded additional IP, a system controller, and several external interfaces available as part of the architectural IP. The ACM approach is dynamically configurable at run time to create the exact hardware needed for algorithm execution.

The last part of the platform is the InSpire SDK tool suite, an all-software development system for hardware design. The tools let designers craft high-performance systems in software, significantly reducing development costs and shortening time-to-market. Once finalized, the design can be turned into a bit stream that can be loaded into a system that employs the Adapt2400 core.

The Adapt2000 ACM cooperative license and rights to access the Adapt2400 ACM technology pool costs $300,000, while the InSpire SDK tool suite costs $50,000 per seat.

QuickSilver Technology

TAGS: Digital ICs
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