By Tim Vanevenhoven, XilinxNovember 15, 2007 -- dspdesignline.com
DSP systems are best described by using a combination of both graphical-and language-based methods. The MathWorks, an industry leader in DSP modeling software, caters to this dichotomy by providing a cycle-accurate graphical design environment called Simulink and a mathematical modeling language called MATLAB.
Simulink is well suited for the "system" aspects of DSP design, including control and synchronization of data flow to and from interfaces and memories. Simulink also provides a rich set of pre-defined DSP algorithms in the form of block sets that you can use to construct DSP systems. Simulink is not always the most effective environment for modeling proprietary algorithms, however. It unnecessarily burdens designers with cycle-accurate considerations and forces low-level arithmetic operations and array accesses to be constructed from graphical block sets rather than concise textual expressions.
Some DSP algorithm developers have found that the MATLAB language best meets their preferred style of development. With more than 1,000 built-in functions as well as toolbox extensions for signal processing, communications, and wavelet processing, MATLAB offers a rich and easy-to-use environment for the development and debugging of sophisticated algorithms.
Simulink unifies both modeling environments with an embedded MATLAB block, which allows MATLAB models to simulate within Simulink and compile into C code through Real-Time Workshop for processor-based DSP hardware implementations.
Xilinx System Generator for DSP is well established as a productive tool for creating DSP designs in FPGAs. With a graphical environment based on Simulink and a pre-defined block set of Xilinx DSP cores, System Generator for DSP meets the needs of both system architects who need to integrate the components of a complete design and hardware designers who need to optimize implementations. System Generator for DSP, however, lacks support for a design flow based on MATLAB.
The Xilinx AccelDSP synthesis tool was developed specifically for algorithm developers and DSP architects who have embraced language-based DSP algorithm modeling. With the AccelDSP synthesis tool, algorithm developers can use their floating-point MATLAB M-files to perform stimulus creation, algorithm evaluation, and results post-processing.
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