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Embedded design optimisation using virtual platforms

23 Jan 2015

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Mentor Graphics Corp. has revealed that its Mentor embedded virtual prototype kits (VPKs) are now available in the Mentor Graphics Vista and Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition portfolio. Intended for car in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), electronic control unit (ECU) networks, medical and industrial, networking, and military and aerospace product development, the solution enables embedded developers to integrate, execute, validate and optimise software on various platforms, noted the company.

Software debug and analysis, particularly for multicore heterogeneous systems, requires understanding complex hardware and software interactions, which is challenging with physical boards executions given the limited trace and control. Virtual prototyping allows developers to run software on a large number of configurable virtual prototypes to explore various configuration alternatives and software execution threads. This is done without the need for probes and complex board setup. Compared to executing software on physical boards, virtual prototyping with the Vista product introduces unique timing and profiling technologies, with deeper, non-intrusive visibility and control of the entire system, including timing-dependent behaviour. The result: deterministic execution and unlimited non-intrusive system-level profiling for efficient hardware and software analysis. In addition, integrated debugging with combined software and hardware view provides more complete system information to developers.

Virtual prototyping is ideal for software developers who need to integrate systems and functionalities into a single device, optimise software performance, and conduct software validation and regression testing. Virtual prototypes can also integrate seamlessly with RTL verification flows (e.g. UVM) and emulation to maximise simulation speed and debug efficiency.

The Vista and Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition products now support off-the-shelf, configurable virtual prototypes for the following device families: Altera Arria-V, ARM Versatile Express for Cortex A-9, Freescale Semiconductor's i.MX 6, and Xilinx Zynq.

The Vista and Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition are integrated with Mentor Graphics runtime platforms (Mentor Embedded Linux, AUTOSAR, Nucleus RTOS). Other embedded software vendors lack the models and platforms required for virtual prototyping efficiency. The IDE in the Vista and CodeBench Virtual Edition products include hardware and software views for systems performance, visibility and analysis.

Additional features for the Vista and CodeBench Virtual Edition products include: graphical debugging and performance analysis tools that enable a system-wide, synchronised perspective across operating systems and application software functions; non-intrusive HW/SW tracing supporting bare-metal and Linux applications on multicore/multisystem configurations; combined HW/SW analysis perspective to easily locate correlation of critical evens in both regions; symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) cluster debugging with full register views; and ease of integration and simulation control of virtual prototypes within the CodeBench Virtual Edition environment.

The Mentor Embedded Vista virtual prototype kits integrated into the Vista and CodeBench Virtual Edition products are available now and can be downloaded from Mentor SupportNet in the Vista or the CodeBench Virtual Edition Product Downloads sections.

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