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Pre-Silicon Software Development with Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition

Pre-Silicon Software Development with Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition

I recently got a crash course in hardware/software design workflows. While my software background is strong, my hardware design knowledge is very light. Any thoughts I have on Karnaugh maps or rising edge flip-flops are quite dusty. Even so, I clearly understood the problems solved by the new Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition, which does two things:

  • Allows hardware teams to run real software on their work-in-progress hardware as part of their validation testing, complimenting the use of randomly generated test cases.

Debug on Vista Simulation and Veloce Emulation Targets

How does it work from the point of view of the software developer? These hardware models are available via additional Eclipse debug configurations, like you would see if you were debugging on a variety of embedded target boards.  Under the hood, these hardware models are brought to life by Mentor Graphics’ very own Vista simulation and Veloce emulation platforms.

Sourcery Codebench Virtual Edition Debug Configurations

Sourcery Codebench Virtual Edition Debug Configurations

Shorter Time to Market

Note that these things happen pre-silicon. That is, the hardware team has yet to tape out and no hardware prototype boards have been produced yet. Normally at this stage in the product lifecycle, the software team must wait until hardware prototypes are available to begin writing and debugging hardware specific code.

Hardware/Software Uncompressed Schedule

Hardware/Software Uncompressed Schedule

With Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition, the software team can get a head start on software development and work in parallel with the hardware team even during the early parts of the hardware design phase.  Once real prototype boards are available, the software team proceeds to use the same development environment they have been using all along.  This leads to a compressed overall product delivery schedule and while increasing overall design confidence.

Hardware/Software Compressed Schedule

Hardware/Software Compressed Schedule

Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition Video Demo

Watch as we use Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition to debug a FIFO driver, fix software bugs, and uncover hardware RTL problems pre-silicon using both Vista virtual prototype simulation and Veloce emulation targets.  Sourcery Analyzer is deployed to identify and reduce estimated power consumption.  Lastly, we kick off a debug session on a real hardware prototype board using the same familiar development environment.


virtual edition, Veloce, virtual prototype, pre-silicon, QEMU, Emulation, SystemC, RTL, Sourcery Analyzer

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About Ricardo Anguiano Follow on Twitter

Ricardo AnguianoRicardo Anguiano is a Technical Marketing Engineer working in the Embedded Software Division of Mentor Graphics. He has a master's degree in computer science from UC Davis. When not writing about embedded software development tools and platforms, you can find him on a bicycle or playing guitar. He is based in Northern California. Visit Embedded Blog

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