Update: ARM to Offer Cycle-Accurate Virtual Prototyping for Complex SoCs Through an Asset Acquisition from Carbon Design Systems (October 20, 2015)
By Bill Neifert, Carbon Design SystemsEmbedded.com (06/16/08, 12:00:00 PM EDT)
A hybrid approach to configuring a virtual hardware platform enables developers to explore all facets of the system long before it's built.
The increasing pressure on software-development schedules for embedded systems has driven many companies to adopt system prototyping strategies. Typically, these prototypes are built from real hardware either as a number of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) on a custom-built board or a pre-built solution such as a hardware emulator.
These hardware-based solutions suffer from a number of limitations, however. High cost, low debugability, and difficult-to-replicate corner cases all combine to limit the overall value of a physical prototype.
A new generation of prototypes is arriving to address these limitations and give software designers even earlier access to a development platform. Virtual hardware prototypes help pull software design earlier in the system schedule and cost less than their hardware equivalents. This article, the first in a two-part series, will discuss the merits of various virtual prototyping approaches. The follow-up article will include a case study that walks you through a virtual prototype's construction and use.
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