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EE Times-India > EDA/IP

CircuitSutra, GreenSocs tie up for SystemC SoC modelling

Posted: 16 Feb 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SoC modelling  SystemC  STARC TL 

CircuitSutra Technologies Pvt Ltd announced today that it has entered into a partnership with United Kingdom-based GreenSocs Ltd to deliver high quality SystemC based SoC modelling services to the semiconductor industry.

The Circuit Sutra office at Amity Innovation Incubator.

GreenSocs is considered a pioneer in the field of SystemC-based SoC modelling and has made recognisable contribution in various standards like SystemC TLM-2.0 and OCP-IP. CircuitSutra is an emerging company in India established in 2005, which focuses on SystemC-based SoC modelling and various standards in the domain, such as OSCI's TLM2.0, the STARC TL guidelines and the GreenSocs open source infrastructure for tool independent model development. It provides SystemC modelling services to customers worldwide, ranging from small fabless organisations to top semiconductor companies.

"Our differentiating factor [from other software services companies] is our ability to go deep into the technology due to domain focus. We also have the cross-domain expertise required in SystemC modelling," said CircuitSutra CEO Umesh Sisodia.

CircuitSutra and GreenSocs have together provided SystemC modelling services to customers worldwide, and this model is proving very successful. The execution skills of CircuitSutra combined with the technical project management and system architecture skills of GreenSocs make it a strategic partnership.

GreenSocs founder Mark Burton, who was also the chairman of the OSCI TLM working group and current chairman of the OCP-IP system-level design working group, commented, "We work with and for the standards organisations, building on their standards and providing the infrastructure that model engineers need to be more productive. Clearly, as experts in this field, we also provide a contracting service to make use of our own infrastructure, and this is where CircuitSutra fit in, as they have worked extremely closely with us to ensure that they can draw the maximum benefit from our infrastructure. Our working model is that GreenSocs provides the architectural skills needed to understand the often-contradictory requirements on models, and CircuitSutra provides the engineering power, making use of our GreenSocs infrastructure. This model has proved immensely productive, and I believe we yield faster, more appropriate results in a shorter time than can be achieved by any other means."

SystemC today
In tough economic times, the investment in creating the SystemC based transaction-level models of their IP and SoC is considered a strategic decision for semiconductor companies, with long-term advantages.

"I think the global economic situation is in a catastrophic state, in no small part because of the actions and fears of our own industry. Now is the time for our industry to invest and develop new products that can help us revive the economy. However, while the small number of multinational global players continue to cut investment and shed jobs, the vicious circle will continue. Meanwhile, for the smaller players lower in the food-chain the prospects are bleak, and uncertain," Burton stated. "There are certainly opportunities for our customers to reduce costs by using our skills and low cost base, but equally our customers are tightening budgets, and subcontracting is a relatively easy budget to cut back on. Therefore I expect that we may see different customers in different parts of their economic "cycle" making use of our value proposition over the next 18-24 months. This will be worrying times for all of us."

"The economic slump is forcing the semiconductor companies to cut their budgets for new product investments. However, we feel that companies will continue to invest in SoC modelling as it will help in definite short term and long term cost reductions," said Sisodia.

SystemC is a new standard that has the potential to bring disruptive changes in all stages of SoC development in the short term and even to raise the abstraction of chip design in the long term. "Well-designed SoC models will also help the companies to come up faster with new variants of their SoC. Standards like TLM2.0 and STARC TL guidelines will enhance interoperability and will enable the SystemC models from different vendors to coexist in a virtual platform. IP companies will invest in creating the SystemC models of their IPs so as to increase the value to their customers," the CEO added.

The virtual platforms created by CircuitSutra and GreenSocs with SystemC can be used for pre-silicon embedded software development, architectural exploration of SoCs or the verification of designs. SystemC has so far been in the research and evaluation phase, but it has crossed the initial hurdles and has reached a stage where it is ready for widespread adoption in the industry. According to Sisodia, the adoption of SystemC in India is picking up. "Most of the multinational semiconductor companies have some SystemC modelling activity in their India development centres," he pointed out.

"We are very well positioned to enable SoC companies in the fast adoption of SystemC. Our partnership with GreenSocs enhances our capability to execute bigger and more complex projects and provide the right value proposition to our customers," Sisodia also stated. "SystemC requires a very unique skill set which is a combination of two domains: software development [C++ and object oriented programming] and the understanding of SoC [architecture, design and verification]. Apart from that, modelling engineers also need to have the sound knowledge of the application domain to which the SoC is targeted and the use cases of SystemC models. All this makes the modelling of SoC a pretty complex job. CircuitSutra and GreenSocs together posses the right skills for SoC modelling."

"In today's economic climate, costs are under extreme pressure. With the combined skills and geographic locations of GreenSocs and CircuitSutra, we are in a unique position to deliver very high value within constrained budgets," said Burton. "GreenSocs provides an Open Source infrastructure that significantly reduces model development and ownership costs. Using this, our customers are free to choose any ESL tool environment, and provide the same advantage to their customers. Our understanding of the use case scenarios for models helps our customers identify exactly what model technologies they should be deploying, and further reduces wasted effort. Together, the in-depth understanding of SoC modelling and the efficient means of development offer the perfect package for our customers."

GreenSocs advocates the use of SystemC by designers, and it does this by engineering SystemC infrastructure to compliment the capabilities developed by OSCI and commercial EDA providers, as well as promoting and utilising academic research. It aims are to develop SystemC infrastructure, basic IP, patches and add on library code for eventual standardisation.

CircuitSutra, meanwhile, plans to expand into outsourced EDA tool development. It was the first company in India to get seed funding from the JSS Academy of Technical Education (JSSATE) and was recently given the Indian Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks and Business Incubators Association (ISBA) Entrepreneurship award.

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