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Embedded SDKs based on ToolMorphing tech

Posted: 29 May 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:M*SDK  embedded software  FPGAs 

Embedded software development company Imperas Software Ltd has released its second generation virtual platform development and multi-core software design kit product offerings that offer extended development capabilities operating at high performance levels.

According to Imperas, its new Developer range and multi-core software development kit products utilise a simulator that leverages a Just-In-Time code morphing mechanism dubbed as ToolMorphing. The technology extends this mechanism to generate tool and model code together.

ToolMorphing allows Imperas' customers to easily build models of their electronic hardware platforms and to integrate existing, industrially proven processor models that include tool and simulation capabilities, adding advanced, unique software development features operating at a high performance level.

Developer product range
The Developer range is focused on building virtual platform models of new or existing hardware platforms and includes a simulator to enable embedded software development to take place often before hardware is available.

Each of the Developer products include:

  • iGen model generator, used in the creation of the platform model and the behavioural components that populate the platform. iGen uses TCL as input and outputs C, C++, and SystemC TLM2.0 components.
  • Imperas Model library of 100+ cpu model variants that includes ARM, Imagination MIPS, Power, Synopsys ARC, Cadence Tensilica, Renesas, and others. The Model library also includes many example and reference platforms such as the ARM Integrator, ARM Versatile Express, and MIPS Malta. The library also includes 80+ peripheral components.
  • The Imperas simulator, which executes the platform, peripheral, and CPU models, and allows compiled binaries of bare metal embedded software, embedded operating systems and applications to execute un-modified on virtual platforms, in turn running on desktop PCs.

The simulator exhibits extremely high performance, Imperas said. For example, operating on a standard X86 personal computer, a complete virtual platform simulation with a dual core ARM Cortex-A9 model can boot a ramdisk version of the Linux operating system in under 5 seconds. The simulator operates with the GNU GDB debugger, and can be used in the Eclipse environment, as well as being included in the Imperas M*SDK product.

The Developer range includes 3 products: C*DEV, S*DEV?, M*DEV, focusing on Controller, Standard, and Multicore embedded software development.

M*SDK embedded software development kit
The multi-core software design kit all the capabilities of the Developer product, and layers on top a powerful suite of verification, analysis and profiling (VAP) capabilities, as well as 3Debug an advanced multi-core debugger that operates across the spatial, temporal and abstraction domains, Imperas said.

"Given the wide variety of customer applications for our SoC FPGAs, our software stacks require rigorous and comprehensive testing. Imperas' M*SDK has proven to be an outstanding environment for the validation and analysis of operating systems, drivers and firmware," said Premal Buch, vice president of software for Altera. "Verification using the Imperas solution not only accelerates software bug discovery, but also provides a rapid understanding of the root cause of problems."

M*SDK includes common embedded software development capabilities, as well as a number of unique features, which accelerate code tuning and debug. These include: Code Coverage, Memory & Cache Analysis, Execution Profiling, Instruction & Function Tracing, Fault Injection, Protocol Verification, Exception & Interrupt Analysis, OS Task Tracing, OS Scheduler Analysis, Memory Protection Verification, and Shared Resource Introspection.

The system is multi-core ready, allowing for a heightened level of observability and controllability across specific cores or entire heterogeneous platforms. It also provides CPU- and OS-aware operation, an abstraction that allows the software engineer to work at an appropriate level of analysis without unnecessary hardware detail. The entire system can be customised easily with APIs that allow supported data structure access. This has been utilised to provide a range of specialised checkers and control signalling, as well as complete integration into other environments.

The VAP tools and 3Debug capability have been implemented based on the Imperas ToolMorphing technology, which provides for just the required code for specific tooling to be generated by the simulator. This tight integration between tool and simulated model accelerates operation and makes the system easier to use. In addition, Imperas' Slipstreamer technology is employed in the environment for non-intrusive embedded software operation, ensuring that running the tools in no way affects code execution behaviour, while enabling instrumentation free coverage and assertions.

M*SDK has been designed for use in demanding embedded software development and test scenarios. Specific usage examples include multi-Operating System customisation, porting and debugging, intensive verification regression environments for products requiring failsafe operation, FPGA platform modelling where the Imperas software tool suite also required integrating into an existing hardware simulation environment, and a range of performance critical embedded software applications where bug scenarios were particularly complex.

The Developer range and M*SDK software design kit products are available now. Pricing starts at Rs.1.94 lakh ($3,600) for an annual floating licence.

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