A native software environment for developing embedded systems pre- and post-silicon has been released by Mentor Graphics Corporation.

The company’s Embedded Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition product enables software developers to remain in their core development environment and develop, debug, and optimise their complete software stack on virtual prototypes and emulation platforms, before and after first silicon.

The company advises the platform embeds advanced pre-silicon technology from the hardware design tool flow, deeply into the native software environment. This is said to help speed time-to-market by reducing time required, learning unfamiliar traditional hardware design tools.

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 transition to actual hardware with the same Sourcery CodeBench native development environment.

By bringing software integration into the early pre-silicon phases, the tool is able to speed product delivery and improves hardware and system quality. This helps ensure hardware is tuned and optimised to the end-application, and that the software is ported and integrated efficiently. Such deep visibility enables postsilicon 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

The environment includes a Sourcery Analyser tool to quickly visualise and analyse 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 product is integrated with the company’s 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.

Mentor Embedded