Mentor takes on heterogeneous multicore challenge

Pulling together the diverse mix of hardware and software development tools it has in its repetoire and adding a few new ones, Mentor Graphics has taken on the challenge of developing applications for the complex heterogeneous processing environment of many next generation consumer and other markets.

At the annual Multicore Developer Conference this year, a common theme of many of the papers from companies such as Broadcom, Cavium, Freescale, Imagination, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments was how to quickly and easily move from the well-understood homogenous environment of at most half a dozen common cores sharing a sedt of applications to one in which diverse compute engines for graphics, DSP and traditional processing are needed, often a dozen or more.

The new integrated solution from Mentor Graphics addresses many of the challenges designers face with heterogeneous systems including:

1) Configuring and deploying multiple operating systems and applications across processors
2) Booting multiple operating systems efficiently and in a coordinated manner across micro- processors and micro-controllers
3) Communicating between isolated sub-systems on a multi-core processor or between heterogeneous processors, and
4) Visualizing interactions between multiple operating systems

To achieve this the heterogeneous multicore developer tool kit the company has put together includes a number of features (Figure below ) that can execute natively or with a hypervisor:

1) Support for the remote processor framework (remoteproc) for Mentor Embedded Linux, Nucleus RTOS and bare-metal applications to aid in the configuration, development, deployment and management of operating systems and applications across heterogeneous SoC cores

2) Scalable implementations of VirtIO and the Multicore Communications API (MCAPI) across operating systems to provide efficient inter-processor communication (IPC) for separated device subsystems.

3) Graphical debugging and performance analysis tools that enable a system-wide, synchronized perspective across operating systems and functions

“Next generation SoCs enable the development of unique embedded systems by extending today’s multicore homogeneous architectures with heterogeneous cores,” said Markus Levy, president of the Multicore Association and chairman of the Multicore Developers Conference, pointing out that successful use of heterogeneous multicore SoCs that combine multicore micro-processors and multicore micro-controllers extends beyond the traditional use of Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) and Asymmetric Multi-Processing (AMP) approaches.

A webinar by Mentor on “Debugging Multicore and Heterogeneous Systems ” will be held on Aug. 5, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. PDT.

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