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Defining Functional Accuracy


I have been heavily involved in a project that recently completed. It involved creating virtual platforms (VPs) for a number of Altera’s FPGA SoCs. If you’re interested in more information, an announcement on the VP availability went out last week. Some of the modeled platforms existed and some were in various stages of development. The goal of the project was to deliver functionally acc... » read more

Simulation Performance Driven By Model Efficiency


In real estate it’s all about location, location, location. For system level simulation it’s all about performance, performance, performance. I have heard many opinions on the performance of SystemC and TLM simulations: some positive, some negative, much of the opinion based on hearsay or other unreliable information. I believe the performance of the simulation is mainly driven by the model... » read more

How Many Levels Of Abstraction Are Needed?


Recently I was having a conversation with a user who was creating cycle accurate SystemC models. My initial thought was, "Why would this be necessary?" Through the course of discussions I realized that he did have a design questions that required that level of accuracy and the simulation performance trade-offs were appropriate for his needs. His cycle accurate SystemC models were running at abo... » read more

Designing In The Dark


While power optimization has received significant focus recently, it is still largely a hidden cost to most hardware and software engineers. A significant problem is the lack of visibility into the impact of decisions while decisions are being made. Often an engineer working on a system will have no practical way of measuring the impact of their design decisions on the system power consumption.... » read more

Not Invented Here Syndrome


Recently I have made some choices on IP I needed to re-use and some I decided not to re-use. This got me thinking about the general topic of reuse in system-level design. Most will agree with a non-specific statement that reuse is a good thing, but the details tend to be a bit more ambiguous. Clouding the reuse question are occasional infections of NIH Syndrome (Not Invented Here), even if s... » read more

Which Group Should Create System Models?


One of the factors affecting adoption of a system-level flow is identifying who will do the work to create the system model. For most organizations it's not something they have allocated to a specific group. Generally when an ESL flow is deployed, the software developers, architects and hardware designers will all benefit from the investment, so it would be reasonable that they all contribut... » read more

Commoditizing Our Kids


My son is graduating from high school this year. He’ll be starting on an engineering degree in the fall. Thinking about the outlook he will face reminds me of questions and comments I have received from customers and colleagues at various points. In my mind these thoughts reduce to a simple question: Is engineering skill becoming a commodity? From Wikipedia: “The exact definition of th... » read more

What You Can Learn From Robots


My sons are in the robotics club at their high school. They program a small robot to perform simple tasks to score points in a competition. It’s a great way for them to learn about embedded systems and stimulate their interest in technology. While looking for ways to help them improve their understanding of embedded systems we started going through some of the online material, one of the c... » read more

Plans Vs. Planning


The end of the year is a good time to look back at what’s happened over the past year, and look ahead to what might happen in the coming one. Two quotes that help my thought process when thinking about the might be coming, “Change is the law of life.” from Kennedy, and “Plans are nothing, but planning is indispensable” from Eisenhower. From my perspective, 2013 has been a good year... » read more

Rethinking Old Sayings


One of my favorite quotes from Gary Smith is a few years old: “It’s the software, stupid!” That statement was made way back in 2006. While it was, and in some ways still is, very illustrative, I believe it also points to one extreme in the back and forth between focusing on hardware then software to differentiate our electronic systems. At the point in time Gary made the statement that... » read more

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