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Posts Tagged ‘Hardware Emulation’

Emulation on the Cloud: HES Cloud delivers access to a high performance emulation platform

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

‘The cloud’ has been an industry buzz word for some time now and whilst the initial focus was on data storage and sharing – and spawned the likes of Dropbox – ‘cloud computing’ is currently the latest trend. For instance, Amazon’s cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), gives users access to servers and a range of applications. Storage is available as before but so too now are dedicated relational databases; which in Amazon’s case is provides through a different service.

Enterprise businesses are taking advantage of cloud computing platforms, and for a number reasons. These include pay-as-go (as opposed to investing considerable cap ex), speed and flexibility (resources and storage can be made available quickly), and one is spared the headache of maintaining a mass of IT hardware and keeping on top of software license renewals.

Also, earlier this year Amazon announced EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) F1, a compute instance with FPGAs that users can program to perform hardware accelerations. The F1 instance includes an FPGA developer Amazon Machine Image (AMI) which includes a development environment with scripts and tools for code compilation and design simulation.

It is expected the primary users of EC2 F1 will be software developers, working on complex and compute-intensive algorithms for which FPGAs lend themselves particularly well. For instance, High Performance Computing will increasingly exploit FPGA technology.

But let’s not forget one of the most important roles that FPGAs have been playing in our industry – EDA – for a number of decades: hardware acceleration for ASIC prototyping purposes.

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FPGAs in an SoC World: How modern FPGA architecture influences verification methodologies

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The SoC domination observed so far in the ASIC industry is coming to the FPGA world and changing the way FPGAs are used and FPGA projects are verified. The latest SoC FPGA devices  offer a very interesting alternative of reprogrammable logic powered with the microprocessor, usually ARM. With new types of devices there is always a need for extended verification methodology. SoC ASIC has so far been the main pioneer for advanced and highly scalable verification methodologies. Due to the complexity and size of such projects, ASIC labs were actually driving EDA vendors to deliver verification solutions for their projects.

 

With the growth of these projects, hardware emulation became a common tool which was then integrated with virtual platforms and labeled ‘hybrid co-emulation’. This hybrid solution offered a single verification platform for both software and hardware teams. Such platforms allow the performance of verification at the SoC level, allowing the entire project to be verified before the final design code is actually written and available for example, to perform the prototyping.

 

Hybrid emulation allows the connection of the work environment of software teams using virtual platforms with the hardware engineers using emulators. Why is this so important? The issue is, until now the software portion of the project worked on the virtual models, separate from the hardware portion. Connecting these two domains allows for testing of the project at the SoC level instead of the subsystems level, which in turn increases the coverage of testing and enables the detection of problems much earlier.

 

Hybrid_co-emulation_verification_system

Figure 1 – Hybrid co-emulation verification system.

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The 80s music at DAC was my idea. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

If you attended the Monday Night Reception at DAC 2014, you were greeted with a blast of 80s pop music. If you then said to yourself, “I’d like to meet the genius behind that idea” – that would be me. A few weeks before DAC, our marketing manager came to me with the task of being the DJ for the Monday night reception. As soon as I heard “DJ” I envisioned turntables, cool headphones, disco lights and all the fame that follows. My dreams were dashed a few moments later when she explained that I would only have a PA and a laptop.

Undaunted, I resolved to be the best DJ in the history of DAC Monday Night Networking Receptions. The first challenge was finding music everyone would enjoy. I naturally settled on 80s pop as my genre. I had the brilliant idea of picking a few songs from each year and playing it as a progressive 80s timeline during the evening. I changed my mind when I realized that bright idea would require some serious manual research and work.

Did I give up? Of course not. I did what any good engineer would do – I found an easy (and smart) solution that did not require substantial extra effort – a bit like re-using verification ip’s instead of making them from scratch. This level of engineering genius is often mistakenly perceived as laziness, but I like to call it being smart. In fact I recently wrote a blog on the topic of working smart not hard.

For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

Leverage Hardware Acceleration for Faster Simulation

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Breaking the Bottleneck of RTL Simulation

Utilizing hardware acceleration in a System-on-Chip verification cycle can speed-up HDL simulation runs from 10-100x, while providing the robust debugging available from an RTL simulator. Acceleration (also referred to as Co-Simulation) combines the speed of FPGA-based prototyping boards, by offloading resource hungry modules into the FPGA, while non-synthesizable constructs of the testbench remain in the RTL simulator.

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Aldec and Xilinx, Partnered for Success

Monday, July 8th, 2013

HW/SW Emulation and Functional Verification of Xilinx FPGAs

As an Aldec Hardware Product Manager, I make the quick flight from our home base in Las Vegas to San Jose pretty regularly. This week, I’ll be joining Aldec Software Product Manager, Dmitry Melnik, as we head out to attend “Smarter 2013”, Xilinx’ annual Technical Sales Conference.

Since Aldec is a Xilinx Alliance Member, we have been invited to showcase our solutions at their conference’s Partner Night. Working closely with key technology partnerships like Xilinx has long been the cornerstone to Aldec’s success. Our mutual customers have benefited from these alliances, the result of hard work, open communication and close interaction between our teams.

Most recently, we’ve been syncing with our counterparts at Xilinx to fulfill the verification requirements of the newest SoC designs, as Aldec provides EDA solutions at every stage of development. Users can leverage the latest Xilinx ISE and Vivado design suites to simulate and verify designs in Aldec Active-HDL and Riviera-PRO, or incorporate Aldec FPGA-based prototyping boards utilizing Virtex-7 FPGAs for hardware emulation and SoC prototyping.

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