Mentor Graphics Introduces Platform Express to Accelerate Platform-Based System-on-Chip Design and Verification
WILSONVILLE, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 13, 2001- Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq:MENT) today introduced the Platform Express(TM) environment, the semiconductor design industry's first environment for rapidly creating, configuring and verifying platform-based, system-on-chip (SoC) designs.
The Mentor Graphics® Platform Express environment enables design teams to build and configure a platform core and its corresponding peripherals and software in a virtual prototype. Simultaneously, Platform Express generates a custom verification environment to verify interfaces in the portion of the design surrounding the embedded processor and its attached peripherals. By automating tedious and error-prone design creation and verification steps, Platform Express shaves months off aggressive product development cycles and allows designers to focus on product differentiators.
``With Platform Express, Mentor Graphics allows SoC designers to rapidly create and verify platform-based SoC designs,'' said Serge Leef, general manager of the System-on-Chip Verification Division. ``Platform Express brings together Mentor's core strengths in intellectual property cores, embedded software, simulation, and emulation to minimize the verification bottleneck.''
Platform Express Enables Rapid SoC Design
Maximum performance from SoC designs requires optimal design of the logic surrounding the embedded processor. As SoC designs have increased in complexity, optimizing interfaces around the processor has become a tedious design step. To assist design groups, processor vendors are now beginning to supply configurable designs (core platforms) that include memory and many common peripherals optimized for use with the processor core, and some standard connection ports onto which additional user-designed logic can be quickly added.
Using Platform Express, designers can browse through a library of available processors, memories and peripherals and drag and drop selected items into a graphical editor. Platform Express provides a graphical user interface that enables users to create systems as block diagrams. Platform Express automatically creates the necessary connections between components, depending on a selection of standard buses, including AMBA and VCI. Platform Express includes a memory map display that automatically displays utilization of address space.
Platform Express Simplifies Design Verification
The Platform-Based Design (PBD) methodology supported with Platform Express not only generates complete hardware and software SoC designs, but also generates custom execution environments required to verify designs. Each set of verification tools customized for a particular design is called an execution environment. Most design groups require multiple execution environments to complete the verification of a design's hardware and software. Each environment will support a different combination of tools and verification targets, and offers different levels of accuracy and performance.
Once graphical entry is complete, Platform Express automatically generates the design, as well as the software to run on the design and a testbench to drive it. Platform Express then invokes verification tools, transparently generating and executing scripts that would be time-consuming to prepare manually. Platform Express also automatically generates diagnostic code for each peripheral and memory component in the design. Designers can proceed to hardware/software co-verification using the Seamless® co-verification tool or to RTL-level hardware verification using the ModelSim® tool. Platform Express enables designers to reap the rewards of a platform-based design methodology and the ability to verify the design as soon as it is created, eliminating months of waiting time as test environments are laboriously created.
Platform Based Design Receives Industry Support
Mentor Graphics is collaborating with leading semiconductor firms to provide Platform Express design kits for popular SoC Platforms. The first platform developers include Oki and Altera Corp. (Nasdaq:ALTR).
``Altera continues to push the envelope of programmable logic design with new families of devices that bring SoC functionality to the programmable world,'' said Tim Southgate, vice president of software product planning and tools marketing at Altera. ``The introduction of processor cores onto our System-on-a-Programmable Chip architectures makes them ideally suited for creating platforms that simplify the task of optimizing hardware/software on-chip interfaces. Platform Express will accelerate development times for our customers, allowing them to explore several platform configurations in a few hours.''
``Our customers expend significant time and resources optimizing the design around the processor to ensure maximum processor performance and functionality, even though this portion of the design does not necessarily differentiate their products in the market,'' said Masasuke Kishi, general manager of Oki's silicon platform architecture department. ``By adopting Platform Express with Oki's mPLAT®(a), an ARM-based integration platform and design environment, our customers can now create and verify complete, optimized processor subsystems quickly and can focus design resources on product differentiators.''
Platform Express uses standard bus specifications, for example the open AMBA(TM) from ARM (LSE:ARM) (Nasdaq:ARMHY), to enable rapid design and integration of IP into SoC platform designs.
``Integrating components from multiple sources quickly and reliably is the key to fast turnaround on SoC designs,'' explained Dr. John Goodenough, program manager, Systems Solutions at ARM. ``Tools such as Platform Express enable users to benefit from the wide industry base of IP with an AMBA interface, and to automatically generate the appropriate interconnect.''
Platform Express provides an environment in which designers can design and verify memories and peripherals from commercial intellectual property providers.
``Memory bandwidth has become a significant bottleneck for high-performance SoC designs,'' said Sanjay Srivastava, CEO and president of Denali Software. ``Platform Express gives designers the ability to address these types of design issues with a comprehensive platform-based methodology. Using Platform Express, designers can safely integrate our Databahn(TM) memory processor cores, and quickly configure them for optimal bandwidth in the context of the surrounding SoC design.''
About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq:MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of more than $600 million and employs approximately 2,975 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777; Silicon Valley headquarters are located at 1001 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, California 95131-2314. World Wide Web site: www.mentor.com.
Mentor Graphics, Seamless and ModelSim are registered trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation. Platform Express is a trademark of Mentor Graphics. All other company or product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.
ARM is a registered trademark of ARM Limited. AMBA is a trademark of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. ``ARM'' is used to represent ARM Holdings plc (LSE:ARM)(Nasdaq:ARMHY); its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries ARM, INC.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan.
Editor's Note: The first character in the name ``mPLAT'' --the Oki platform and design environment-- should in fact be the greek letter ``mu.'' The substitution was made because the mu is not supported by this and many other wire media systems.
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