Single System Enables Nine Verification Operating Modes and Provides a Co-Verification Debugger for Efficient HW/SW Team Communication
Munich, Germany - March 3, 2003 - Axis Systems, Inc. today announced XoC, the industry's first complete product for hardware and software verification for embedded vertical markets. Initially, XoC will be targeted at the ARM-based SoC design market.
XoC features a Co-Verification Debugger that creates, for the first time, a common communication environment between hardware and software teams. XoC makes it possible for software designers to verify code functionality, before silicon, without having to learn hardware verification methodologies.
"XoC brings software and hardware designers together in a common environment and expands the use of emulation to a wider market," said Steve Wang, vice president of marketing for Axis. "Based on initial customer feedback, XoC allows design teams to tape-out three months sooner with a higher level of confidence in the design."
The Software Problem
The growth of SoC designs has made traditional verification methods inadequate for full verification of a system. Hardware verification must be concurrent with software development and validation of system diagnostics, device drivers, RTOS, and application software, before chip tape-out. Existing methods require multiple point tools from multiple vendors - most of which do not work well together. Compounding the problem further, software and hardware design teams must choose when to use simulation, acceleration, or emulation and the varying types of processor models.
In contrast, XoC for ARM processors creates an all-inclusive system within a unified environment, reducing communication overhead, eliminating time-intensive integration efforts and providing a single point of contact for customer support. Furthermore, XoC enables a method to smoothly transition operating modes within the SoC Verification Matrix to support block level testing, directed test generation, random test generation, initialization test software, diagnostic test software, in-circuit interface testing, device drivers, RTOS porting and application software.
In addition to running the SoC Verification Matrix in a single environment and on a single system, another major issue surrounding the adoption of co-verification is the lack of a common communication medium between hardware and software teams. The software team works with software models and debugs using software source-level tracing and memory and register viewing. Conversely, the hardware team works with hardware design languages and debugs by viewing waveforms with history values associated with simulation times of read and write operations. As a result, when the software team detects a potential hardware problem, it cannot be described in hardware terms (time and signal value), nor is it easy to transfer an independent test case to the hardware engineers for further review.
The XoC Co-Verification Debugger features a Transaction Instrument and bi-directional Instant Replay. The Transaction Instrument captures bus transactions while Instant Replay plays back transactions within a self-contained software or hardware environment. The Co-Verification Debugger links transactions to the emulation time value and the corresponding software line that activated the transaction. Therefore, the correlation is in both directions: software line number for the software view and simulation time for the hardware view.
This correlation provides the ability to isolate problems to either software or hardware. Since software engineers can now identify the timeframe of a potential hardware bug, hardware engineers can investigate the cause of the failure within the specified time range. With Axis' VCD-on Demand (VoD), which records 100% of the waveform history, hardware engineers can immediately review the associated waveform to quickly isolate the error. On the other hand, if the results of the analysis indicate that software activated an illegal hardware transaction, hardware engineers can identify the potential software code region where the software execution failure occurred, so software engineers can debug the software code in question. This increased communication permits hardware and software engineers to converse in familiar terms and speeds debugging - thereby significantly reducing the verification time.
XoC Features and Availability
XoC for ARM processors includes Axis' patented ReConfigurable Computing technology, Co-Verification Debugger, the Xtreme verification system (starting at 1.25M-gate capacity), co-verification and in-circuit emulation models for ARM7 and ARM9 processors, and transaction-level API and a synthesizable model interface that supports AMBA testbench development. As with all Axis products, XoC supports Verilog and VHDL and includes advanced debugging capabilities with VoD, as well as the ability to instantaneously swap (Hot Swap) to and from simulation, acceleration, and emulation. The XoC product is available now.
About Axis Systems
Axis Systems, Inc. offers high-performance verification systems for the hardware and software development of complex electronic system and system-on-a-chip designs. Axis' products help increase confidence in new designs, improve overall verification productivity and shorten time to market. On a single system and with one design database, Axis' patented ReConfigurable Computing (RCC) technology provides software simulation, accelerated simulation, system emulation and hardware/software co-verification. Customers include the world's leading graphics, networking, multimedia, and processor companies. Axis is headquartered at 209 E. Java Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94089. To learn more about Axis, www.AxisSystems.com.