Roundtable: Virtualization & Simulation

Tomas Evensen (Wind River)  - It’s sort of happening a little bit in the desktop space. Wind River is part of Intel now, but I don’t believe it will happen in the embedded space.

[Of course], there’s always a momentum towards standardization. In the mobile space, for instance, there’s a little bit of standardization on ARM chips. But, I’m afraid fragmentation moves quickly, as well. Muticore drives more fragmentation, more than single platforms. Also, needs [vary widely] when it comes to power requirements, performance requirements, standards and costs. It’s very different if you have a chip that controls an air bag versus something in a big router. I don’t think platforms will happen on the hardware side, and not on the software side either.

Kent Fisher (Freescale)  - Nope, we’re not certainly seeing from our customers the drive to that vanilla platform. Hence, we develop a wide portfolio of different solutions. It’s just not feasible to meet the power and cost requirements of specific embedded applications [with one platform]. Customers only want to pay for precisely what they need in their applications. Although, that type of scenario, getting to common software across our product portfolio, is something we’re interested in getting help with.

Michel Genard (Virtutech)  - We’re not designing hardware, but I hope we’re not going in that direction. If there was only one chain of restaurants in the world, [that would be terrible]. Diversity is good, plus from what we have seen, the industry can’t agree on a basic [design] that helps everyone. However, today you can take any one of the semi vendors  - they use the same foundry, they agree on the RTL, and they agree on the interconnect and the I/O, and more and more, so hopefully there will be a common block we can all agree on [some day]. Then, competition will depends on different factors.

Concerns today are divided evenly on the customer’s side between hardware and software. It’s still challenging to design a system that includes both software and hardware, and to know how to glue the two together. These challenges bring you to the point that you have to bring the team together. You must factor software [concerns] into the design early on. You can no longer design a separate piece of hardware and software.

* - Okay, no vanilla platform and no programmable hardware solutions. Still, you all must have some sort of vision of a perfect world. In your perfect world, what would each of you like to have?

Jason Andrews (Cadence)  - I need something that’s called an automatic debugger and runs on system hardware and software. You come in and there’s a big arrow that shows you where the bug is. It just points and says, “Change this line here!”

Mark Burton (GreenSocs)  - I need parity in the standards organizations in the world. I need them to tell me what they‘re going to standardize, when they‘re going to standardize, and how they’re going to work with other standards that already exist.

Tomas Evensen (Wind River)  - I’d like to have a tool that takes a normal program and breaks it up, so it can run it on all the muticores. And I want to be the only one with that tool, so I can make a lot of money.

Michel Genard (Virtutech)  - In a perfect world, it’s all about models, models, models. You can’t run simulation without models. I wish all the SOCs and semis would provide models that are available and useful, so we can really focus on providing the infrastructure and tools around them for customers who want to use simulation.

Kent Fisher (Freescale)  - A cycle-accurate simulator that runs as fast as the silicon.

* - Thank you for your time. I’ve enjoyed the conversation.


Participant bios …

* Michel Genard @ Virtutech, VP Marketing

Michel Genard is an industry veteran with 20+ years of experience in the software and hardware embedded market. His most recent position was as executive vice president of sales and business development at TimeSys, where he launched LinuxLink, a Web-based Linux subscription for developers. Genard also held executive marketing positions at VirtualLogix (formerly Jaluna) and Wind River Systems. During his 12-year tenure at Wind River, Genard conceived and implemented Wind River's first wholly owned subsidiary in Europe. Genard then moved to the U.S., where he continued his career with Wind River and served as general manager of Hardware-Assisted and Stand-Alone Tools Product Division before becoming vice president, platforms marketing.

* Jason Andrews @ Cadence, Architect

Jason Andrews is an Architect at Cadence Design Systems, where he is responsible for embedded software and hardware/software co-verification products and methodology. Andrews is the author of the book, “Co-Verification of Hardware and Software for ARM SoC Design.”

* Mark Burton @ GreenSocs, Founder

Dr. Mark Burton is the founder of GreenSocs. Burton graduated from Warwick University with a BS in CSE. He worked for several years for Inmos (now part of ST microelectornics), and then moved to ACRI (The Advanced Computer Research Institute). He completed a PhD in Artificial Intelligence within Education, specifically focusing on the simulation of high level collaborative learning processes, and then worked for ARM becoming the manager of the modeling group. At this time, he was also the chair of the OSCI TLM WG.

Recently, Burton formed GreenSocs with a number of aims, notably to support the entire Electronic System Level industry towards better interoperability, and to support research and development environments through more contact with relevant industrial tools and techniques. Burton is currently the chair of the OCP-IP SLD WG.

* Tomas Evensen @ Wind River, CTO, VP & GM: Tools and Common Technologies Product Division

Tomas Evensen is vice president and general manager of the Wind River Tools product division and also Chief Technology Officer. Evensen joined Wind River as part of the acquisition of Integrated Systems, Inc. in 2000. He was the Vice President of Engineering at Diab-SDS, which was acquired by ISI in 1996. Evensen has 24+ years of experience in the OS and embedded tools area. Prior to joining Wind River, he was the creator of the Diab Data C/C++ compilers. Evensen has an MSEE from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

* Kent Fisher @ Freescale, Chief Systems Engineer

Kent Fisher is Chief Systems Engineer for High-Performance Processor Products in the Networking Systems Division at Freescale Semiconductor. In this role, Fisher is responsible for the definition of architectures, products and solutions for the high-end QorIQ communications platform. During his tenure at Freescale, Fisher has served in numerous roles encompassing new product definition, and systems and software engineering. He previously served as Systems Engineering Manager, responsible for product definition and systems architecture for the PowerQUICC family of processors.

Fisher has been with Freescale for 7+ years, and in the embedded processing field for 20+ years, with prior positions in the telecom and datacom industry responsible for systems, hardware and software design and development, including 8+ years at Nortel Networks. Fisher has a BSEE from Oklahoma State University and an MS in Telecommunications from Southern Methodist University.

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