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Hardware/software codesign using Zynq—A prescription written in C/C++ from Space Codesign Systems

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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Professor Guy Bois, Director of the Microelectronics and Microsystems Research Group (GR2M) Laboratory at École Polytechnique de Montréal and President of Space Codesign Systems, has just published a compelling article in EETimes titled “Step Up to C for Embedded R&D.” I found the article very interesting because I think Bois captures the essence of the maximally efficient way to design today’s embedded systems.

 

Bois writes: “The starting point for a more agile approach to development is to work at a higher level of abstraction, in this case, ESL, or electronic system level.”

 

He continues, “By taking advantage of the SystemC library definitions and TLM-2.0 interface standards -- both part of standard IEEE 1666 -- we can use a single language, C/C++. This allows us to create a fully-modeled functional software representation of a hardware/software SoC design based on a mix of processors, software, communication links (AXI interconnects), memories, and other IP cores. Thus, the various tasks of the requested embedded application can be implemented in the SoC as either hardware or software, according to quality-of-results (QoR) requirements based on performance, power consumption, and hardware resource utilization, following a true hardware/software co-design approach.”

 

“Right on!” I thought to myself. “This guy needs a Zynq All Programmable SoC.”

 

Then I read down to the last sentence of Bois’ EETimes article: “The approach is practical and the entire process has been realized by the author's company using the Xilinx Zynq ‘All Programmable SoC’ platform.” Bois is already way ahead of me.

 

You can find a far more detailed discussion of these ideas in a paper presented at the SAME 2012 Conference titled “Recent Experience on an ESL Framework for Rapid Design Exploration using Hardware-Software Codesign for ARM-based FPGAs.”

 

Note: Bois’ reference to higher-level abstractions leads me to recommend the recent Xcell Daily blog, “All Programmable Abstractions and ESL: Different names for the same system-level design concepts.”

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