ESL

June 1, 2007

Optimizing energy in processor-memory subsystems during SoC design

System-level architectural decisions made before any RTL code has been written have a much larger impact on overall system energy than RTL-level, gate-level, or circuit-level tweaks. The Xenergy tool from Tensilica estimates energy for a processor subsystem (processor, caches, local memories) based on the application code that will run on that subsystem. Designers can thus […]

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June 1, 2007

DAC past, present and future

When I left the semiconductor industry to become an EDA Analyst, I was struck by two things. The first was the professionalism of the PR firms handling the EDA accounts. They not only did jobs that would be expected of them by silicon vendors, but also performed functions that we would consider part of a […]

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March 1, 2007

MPSoC demands system-level design automation

The relative performance of a single processor has leveled off in the last decade. Built-in instruction-level parallelism is becoming less efficient because issuing more than four instructions in parallel has little effect on most applications. Meanwhile, recent attempts to boost performance have come dangerously close to the energy/power consumption ceiling. Dedicated hardware accelerators may prove […]

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March 1, 2007

Consumer market promises steady progress

US factory-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics will surpass $155B in 2007, representing 7% growth, according to the most recent forecast from the Consumer Electronics Association. This performance will follow on from an expected $145B market in 2006, a year which surpassed even the most optimistic forecasts by logging growth of 13%. “The industry outlook is […]

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March 1, 2007

Build vs buy in an SoC world

We are now entering the tail end of an era, and many of us do not even know it. For as long as there have been microprocessors, there have been engineers and engineering teams whose job it was to create interconnects. Although this will undoubtedly continue in some companies, the increasing complexity of systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) […]

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March 1, 2007

Electronic system level design for embedded systems

There is a growing productivity gap in the design of embedded systems. One recent survey estimated that the number of lines of embedded code written per year is growing at a rate of 46% a year, although the number of developers available to write it is growing at only 7.5%. The problem is further compounded […]

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March 1, 2007

System-level design matures

How do we bridge the gap between the highly abstract view provided by traditional system-level design and the detailed implementation in RTL? The article answers this question by describing the components within an ESL methodology and illustrating its use via customer case studies. The methodology uses the ARM RealView SoC Designer tool and Tenison Design […]

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December 1, 2006

Power under control

In late 2001, Nick Baker and other members of the Ultimate TV team at Microsoft learned that the company was ending development work on the product. For a still youthful engineer whose curriculum vitae already took in some ill-fated early-days video card work at Apple and the short-lived 3DO games console, Baker could have been […]

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December 1, 2006

Reducing power demands with specialized coprocessors

Consumer electronics is a difficult business.Market windows open and close quickly. Cost is critical. Requirements change unpredictably. Risk is high. Functionality and performance increase with every product generation, while both manufacturing-limitations and feature-driven demand require low power implementations. Of all these, power constraints have the largest impact on current product architectures. As CMOS reaches its […]

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December 1, 2006

Using self-timed interconnect to accelerate SoC timing closure

Timing closure is one of the major problems faced by SoC designers. The inclusion of several, often diverse, IP cores that need to communicate with each other on a chip makes it difficult for a designer to meet the complex timing requirements between these cores. Furthermore, as process nodes shrink, process variability becomes a more […]

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