Mentor Graphics Accelerates SoC and Embedded System Delivery with a Native Embedded Software Environment for Pre- and Post-Silicon Development, Embedding QEMU, SystemC and Emulation

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — April 22, 2013Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) today announced release of the Mentor® Embedded Sourcery™ CodeBench Virtual Edition product, a native software environment for developing embedded systems pre- and post-silicon. Now, ever-expanding teams of software developers can remain in their core development environment and develop, debug, and optimize their complete software stack on virtual prototypes and emulation platforms, before and after first silicon.

“Software development and hardware development are deeply intertwined, yet intensely unique disciplines. Asking a software designer to use a hardware design tool is like asking a plumber to install your sink with an electrician’s wire cutters,” said Glenn Perry, general manager of Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. “It’s critical to respect the uniqueness of each discipline and we believe our Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition delivers a true native software environment that deeply leverages our hardware design tool technology.”

The Sourcery CodeBench technology is the leading development toolchain and integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded Linux development, which is now the de facto standard reference operating system (OS) on all SoCs. The Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition product embeds the most advanced pre-silicon technology available from the hardware design tool flow, deeply into the native software environment. This yields a significant time-to-market advantage for software development teams by eliminating the valuable time and effort spent learning unfamiliar traditional hardware design tools. The Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition tool goes beyond enabling software development ahead of silicon to offer unprecedented visibility into hardware/software interactions, otherwise unavailable through the limited debug interfaces in actual hardware.

True Native Software Environment – The Key Differentiation

Mentor’s 15-year investment in embedded software has yielded findings concurring that most software developers will not adopt hardware design tools even if they have been enhanced and/or interfaced to software tools. After acquiring CodeSourcery in 2010, Mentor Graphics modified the leading embedded development environment by embedding hardware design intelligence directly into the native environment. Conversely, the traditional EDA industry approach has seen limited success by attempting to modify hardware tools for use by software developers.

IP and SoC suppliers can speed time-to-market for their downstream customers by providing embedded software development capability, including software development kits (SDKs), before silicon. The same native software development environment can then be used downstream in the design flow alongside virtual platform representations provided by systems companies and OEMs to design and develop embedded systems ahead of silicon availability. Embedded developers can simply transition to actual hardware with the same Sourcery CodeBench native development environment.

Early Software Integration is Critical

By bringing software integration into the early pre-silicon phases, the Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition speeds product delivery and improves hardware and system quality. This helps ensure hardware is tuned and optimized to the end-application, and that the software is ported and integrated efficiently. Such deep visibility enables post-silicon bug tracking that is impossible to identify with physical boards. Relevant capabilities of this edition include:

  • Non-intrusive visibility and tracing for memory-mapped registers and deep hardware states, including CPU internals, memories, cache and fetch sequences
  • Tightly controlled system execution, such as stopping all system clocks instantly, and cross debugging hardware and software execution
  • Trace and debug of complex hardware/software interactions deterministically with the ability to set breakpoints on any software or hardware object
  • Simulation APIs with semi-hosting and direct access to the target file system for host-target file transfers
  • API and backdoor access for testability and non-intrusive software code injection

Sourcery CodeBench and Sourcery Analyzer for Fast System Analysis

The Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition environment includes the Sourcery Analyzer tool to quickly visualize and analyze system data. This product provides application and kernel level insight and supports a broad array of time-stamped data formats such as the Linux Trace Toolkit (LTTng). By visually showing how processor cores and system resources are being used, it enables embedded developers to quickly identify bottlenecks in order to debug or decode these problems. By applying trace points anywhere in the application, developers can visually identify the critical section of software code impacting system performance.

The Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition product is integrated with the Mentor Graphics® Vista™ platform for early abstract functional models of the hardware even before the hardware design is implemented in register transfer level (RTL). The Vista platform supports industry standard SystemC/TLM 2.0 virtual prototypes and QEMU machine emulators.


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