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SemiEng: The Drive Toward Virtual Prototypes

Prototypes are transforming rapidly to take on myriad tasks, but they are hampered by a lack of abstractions, standards, and interfaces.

Semiconductor Engineering


Chipmakers are piling an increasing set of demands on virtual prototypes that go well beyond its original scope, forcing EDA companies to significantly rethink models, abstractions, interfaces, view orthogonality, and flows.
The virtual prototype has been around for at least 20 years, but its role has been limited. It has largely been used as an integration and analysis platform for models that are more abstract than implementation models. At its heart is an instruction set model for one or more processors, enabling early software development to be conducted on a fast, functionally accurate model of the hardware. Performance historically has relied on abstracting out timing information.
The term ‘shift left’ is being applied to an increase percentage of the tasks performed during system development. It provides an early glimpse of the impact that downstream decisions will have so that bad decisions can be caught earlier when their impact is limited…


To read the full Semiconductor Engineering article by Brian Bailey, click here.