DESIGN TOOLS: Virtual system 'platform' rolls
Anaheim, Calif. - Making the move from point tools to a more integrated platform, Carbon Design Systems Inc. rolled out its Virtual System Prototyping (VSP) product here at last week's Design Automation Conference. It promises to run billions of simulation cycles in a matter of hours, enabling both hardware and software validation.
Carbon launched its SpeedCompiler and DesignPlayer tools in December 2003. These tools generated fast cycle-accurate models derived from RTL code.
They produced linkable object representation with a C-language API, creating a model that runs 50 to 200 times faster than event-driven simulation.
Now, Carbon is taking that compilation technology and creating a more complete solution, said Alan Swahn, vice president of marketing at Carbon. The new VSP solution replaces SpeedCompiler and DesignPlayer, which were "point tools," Swahn said.
The earlier tools "generated a C object, but the user had to do something with it," Swahn said. "They had to put it in their own environments and sometimes build transactors. It was essentially a build-your-own system. The difference with VSP is that we have a platform that makes it very easy for them to build their prototype."
Most other fast validation solutions, Swahn said, either don't have the same performance or they require hardware. VSP is purely a software solution.
The offering can be used by software developers to get a jump on code development and debugging, as well as hardware designers who want faster verification.
Much of what's in the VSP platform stems from partnerships. It includes verification transactors resold through an OEM agreement with Zaiq Technologies Inc.
These transactors provide a "bridge" between instruction-set or transaction-level models and more-detailed models that work at the pin level. They're available for many common communications protocols, such as PCI, PCI-X, ARM AHB, Ethernet, DDR or USB.
VSP doesn't come with processor models, but it provides integration with ARM's MaxSim instruction set simulator, which was demonstrated by both Carbon and ARM at DAC. It also offers interfaces to other providers of fast processor models and virtual prototyping solutions, such as Vast Technologies, Virtio and Virtutech.
Carbon intends to provide silicon intellectual property libraries with VSP, but the IP core library isn't ready yet. The product does come with a memory library and an ability to "remodel" the elements in Synopsys' DesignWare library to run faster, Swahn said.
VSP will ship July 1 with prices starting at $35,000 for a one-year license.