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Fast Cycle Approximate Simulation Using ARC nSIM NCAM

Pre-silicon simulations with fast-functional and near cycle accurate modes.

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One of the key factors of successful software (e.g. firmware/application) development is the ability to quickly run and profile software in the absence of target hardware. The earlier in the design process that this is possible, the better, i.e. during the pre-silicon phase.

Typically, the pre-silicon phase is dominated by three activities, each with different challenges:

Exploring the Hardware/Software configuration space
Challenge: to find the near optimal set of configurations from a large design space

Functional bring-up of the software stack
Challenge: to find and eliminate functional software issues

Pre-silicon optimization of the software stack
Challenge: to find and optimize key hotspots in software stack

The DesignWare ARC nSIM Instruction Set Simulator aims to address these challenges by providing two simulation modes; a fast-functional mode and a near cycle accurate mode. The fast-functional mode is key to solving the pre-silicon software bring-up challenge. Our new near cycle accurate simulation mode was designed to help solve the challenges of exploring the hardware/software configuration space and to enable pre-silicon optimization.

The end goal is to empower customers to further reduce time to market by providing the right tools to get their software stack production ready before silicon is available and to reduce the risk of costly re-spins due to late design changes.

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