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Date: 30-04-13

Software from Synopsys to quickly implement ASIP in SoC design

Synopsys has made available of the Embedded Vision Development System to quickly design and tune processor architectures for the optimal combination of power and speed, and quickly implement the design on a HAPS FPGA-based prototype.

"Embedded vision enables designers to add visual intelligence to systems, making them safer, smarter and more responsive," said Jeff Bier, founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance (www.Embedded-Vision.com). "But embedded vision is processing-intensive and most applications demand extreme cost- and energy-efficiency while also requiring programmability to accommodate new algorithms and new functions over time. Custom processors like those enabled by the Synopsys Embedded Vision Development System often yield the best mix of performance, efficiency and flexibility. I applaud Synopsys for recognizing and supporting the growing importance of embedded vision."

Synopsys explains:
The Embedded Vision Development System includes pre-verified design examples to help designers quickly implement an Application-specific instruction-set processor (ASIP) optimized to meet their specific SoC objectives for power consumption and performance. It provides a ready-to-use, modifiable base processor including a full C/C++ compiler, which supports all functions provided by the OpenCV library. The execution of the compiled code with the automatically-generated instruction-set simulator (ISS) is easy to profile, clearly identifying performance-intensive parts of the application, which can be accelerated by changes in the processor architecture, including memory access, register configuration and instruction set. Unlike configurable processors that rely on a fixed pipeline and register structure, this methodology removes limitations from achieving the most power- and performance-optimized custom architecture for their application. Using the automatically generated software tools, designers easily recompile and simulate the C/C++ program until they achieve their design goals.

Processor Designer generates optimized RTL of the ASIP, which can easily be downloaded into a HAPS FPGA-based prototyping system. Designers save implementation effort with an easy-to-use flow from RTL generation to instantiation in the HAPS system, using the same RTL from design through validation. HAPS prototypes allow the design team adopting the application-specific processor to integrate other digital IP into the SoC design and connect the prototype with real-world I/O such as cameras and memory to validate the hardware-software integration. Running more than 100x faster than a cycle-accurate ISS-based model, the combination of Processor Designer and HAPS in the new integrated design and prototyping system provides a highly-efficient way to refine and validate ASIP architectures from project to project.

"Many types of electronic devices require designers to develop custom processors to meet unique performance goals most efficiently, such as the processing of large amounts of visual data in embedded vision systems," said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and systems at Synopsys. "The Synopsys Embedded Vision Development System, based on Processor Designer and a linkage to HAPS FPGA-based prototyping, saves months of engineering effort by combining software and hardware tools that enable designers to analytically arrive at the best processor implementation for their specific application, then quickly prototype the entire SoC to complete the hardware/software integration."

The Embedded Vision Development System is immediately available from Synopsys.

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