EIN AYYALA, Israel Gidel Ltd., an Israeli company that offers a combination of hardware, EDA software and silicon intellectual property (IP), is making its North American debut at the upcoming Design Automation Conference. Gidel offers FPGA-based boards that can be used for simulation acceleration, rapid prototyping and production, along with software that generates interface hardware and C++ application drivers.
Gidel has shipped its hardware and software to several companies outside Israel, including Broadcom, Ericsson, Marconi and the U.S. Air Force. But the company is just now opening its first North American office, in Montreal, with plans to open an office in Silicon Valley.
The 10-person company was launched in 1993 as a system development and integration organization. It started product development in 1997. Gidel's founder and president, Reuven Weintraub, previously held technical management posi tions with a medical-imaging systems company.
The company's goal is to provide "a generic platform development and prototyping board," said Aaron Marelly, vice president of business development. "This is not just hardware; it's a combination of hardware, software and IP cores. We provide the systems user with a complete tool, not only for hardware development but also for software development."
At the core of the company's offerings are its Proc boards, which can be used for development, prototyping and production. They contain up to five Altera field-programmable gate arrays and offer anywhere from 50,000 to 7.5 million Altera gates. The Altera devices can range from the Flex50KE to the Apex20KE 1500, depending on the capacity desired by the user.
The PCI boards have clock speeds of up to 133 MHz. They also have anywhere from 16 to 256 Mbits SDRAM along with optional SRAM.
Gidel doesn't provide software to map hardware-description language (HDL) netlists into the Altera FPGAs. Users can emp loy Altera's Quartus product for that, or they can use Synplicity's Certify, if they want multi-FPGA partitioning.
Gidel provides the ProcWizard, which has three functions, according to Marelly. These include generating documentation, creating C++ application drivers and generating the "top level" of the application by producing HDL code for interfaces.
The application drivers connect the user's software application to the PCI bus. The top level handles interactions between the hardware and the software application. "We do all the interfacing with the hardware automatically," Marelly said.
ProcWizard also provides a debugging environment for the hardware/software interface. But it does not provide debug for the software application itself or for the user's hardware.
ProcSim, an optional software product, works with the Proc boards and HDL simulators to create an incremental simulation acceleration environment. Users can take a portion of the netlist, or all of it, and drop it into one or more FPGAs for simulation acceleration.
Gidel's MultiPort IP cores let users define any number of ports for the on-board SDRAM. Users can choose the number of bits and the frequency.
For production use, the Proc boards support a daughterboard or mezzanine card that can accommodate custom hardware. Up to 692 I/O connections are available. Users can buy the boards or pay royalties.
Marelly said Gidel will provide a cost-effective alternative to existing hardware-verification systems. "You can't purchase simulation acceleration today for less than $200,000. But with ProcSim we can provide it for around $50,000, including hardware and software."
The Proc boards themselves can range from $1,500 to $40,000, with an additional $1,500 to $10,000 for the ProcWizard software.