System development

General Description

There is a need to boost the software development to be able to deliver high quality application code on time. Software development itself becomes more complicated since a single processor system will become rare in the future. Especially multi processor systems require new development approaches.

Application development on a target board has advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage is that the code runs at the target speed. The disadvantages are not neglectable, especially during the first phases of product development. It is obvious that the target hardware needs to be available for each software engineer to allow short iteration cycles. A target can be seen as a black box system which provides very limited observability and controllability. By adding costly HW recourses for verification purposes (break units, trace buffers) this black box becomes at best a gray box.

Evaluating application code in a simulation environment where an RTL simulator is also active is no solution. For a small system an RTL simulation runs at a speed of ~200Hz. Assume the target runs at 50MHz. This means the simulation environment runs 250000 times slower. And software engineers are not interested in waveforms but in register views and in the current value of variables, the frames on stack, etc.

A well developed Instruction Set Simulators (ISS) runs at a speed of several megahertz. When attention is paid to the development of C++ peripheral models than it can be statistically proved that they hardly influence the simulation speed. Such a system is 10 times slower than the target system, but fast enough to boot a simulated OS and verify application code.

Univers fully supports the development and verification of multi processor systems. For application code development and verification Instruction Set Simulators combined with C++ models of peripherals result in a high speed virtual system. Such a system provides full visibility and controllability to the development team. C++ peripheral models can be added to model the outside world of the system, such as sensors, actuators and visualization of LCD output.

Univers includes a high speed digital simulator (VHDL and Verilog) to support driver development and HDL module design. For smaller, dedicated pieces of software, the combination of a real ISS with the real hardware design leads to early detection of interface omissions.

Univers benefits regarding system design:
True multi core development and verification (accurate)
Extremely good observability and controllability
High speed
Processor vendor and type independent
No need for costly target hardware for each engineer
Software view of peripherals
Models may include possible connections to the outside world

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