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Software-Hardware Co-Design Becomes Real

Automatic mapping of software onto existing hardware, or using software to drive hardware design, are highly desired but very difficult.

Semiconductor Engineering


For the past 20 years, the industry has sought to deploy hardware/software co-design concepts. While it is making progress, software/hardware co-design appears to have a much brighter future. In order to understand the distinction between the two approaches, it is important to define some of the basics.

Hardware/software co-design is essentially a bottom-up process, where hardware is developed first with a general concept of how it is to be used. Software is then mapped to that hardware. This is sometimes called platform-based design. A very recent example of this is Arm‘s new Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (SOAFEE), which seeks to enable software-defined automotive development.

Software/hardware co-design, in contrast, is a top-down process where software workloads are used to drive the hardware architectures. This is becoming a much more popular approach today, and it is typified by AI inference engines and heterogenous architectures…


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