Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Software hardware exploration: a European demonstration

The result of the project is a computer aided design (CAD) prototype to support alternative design explorations of mixed (hardware/software) applications through the evaluation of different partitionings. The prototype enhances the environment TOSCA (Tools for Software/Hardware Co-design Automation), able to provide an automatic support for the specification and binding of different modules of an electronic design to hardware or software implementations giving estimations through static and dynamic metric applications. Up to now the lack of system design automation tools on the market prevented a design space exploration at system level (ie prior to partitioning). The testing phase has involved the application of different trade-off analyses between hardware and software partitioning strategies to a telecommunication device.

The main technical achievement has been the development of an efficient system level simulator, able to analyse the specification written in OCCAM-II T, after binding different processes to hardware or software modules. The tool is built around two main modules: a front-end and a system level simulator. The front end enables the user to provide a specification of the device in a structural way through processes and channels. The graphical information is complemented by a textual specification in OCCAM 2, to provide a complete behaviour of the device. Temporal constraints are included, due to an extension to the language that has been developed to this purpose. After partitioning and binding are decided by the designer, a system level simulation is run. Different types of metrics are applied to evaluate the consequences of the adopted choice on the design constraints. An advantage of the system is to provide in a quick way accurate enough estimations on which the user can select the best solution for the design.

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20157 MILANO
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