12/8/2003 - VaST Systems Technology Corporation, the technology leader in embedded systems development tools, announced MetrixTM, a new product offering system architects, embedded software programmers and hardware development teams deep insight into the behavior and performance of hardware and software through virtual platforms.
Metrix explores what is going on within a complex system, examining both the hardware and software of system-on-chip (SoC) devices under development, and performs quantitative assessments of behavior and performance. Metrix is innovative in the amount of information that is made available to users, how it is filtered and displayed, and the actions that can be triggered within a virtual platform. These capabilities provide architects and development engineers a much more dynamic debugging environment than traditional single-step static debuggers.
Quantitative Measurements Enable Optimization
During the development of complex SoC hardware/software systems, developers must be able to gather metrics representative of the eventual real-world product. Typical attributes that need to be examined include processor and memory performance, bus activity, amount of time spent in procedures and amount of time peripheral blocks are active.
Metrix gives embedded system architects, software engineers and hardware designers the insight they need to optimize not just hardware and software performance but also the activity across the hardware/software boundaries, typically the most difficult area to analyze. For example, Metrix enables architects and developers to:
Flexible Interface Fosters Insight into Hardware/Software System Behavior
As SoC architectures are becoming more complex, much of a systemís functionality is implemented in software or in networks of multiple SoCs, each running embedded software. All of these systems require sophisticated hardware/software tradeoffs, and the only way for development teams to understand these tradeoffs is to perform a detailed analysis of software and hardware behavior. Metrix is the first product to enable designers to generate huge amounts of data and then filter it intelligently to focus on the characteristics being optimized.
The wide range of data that Metrix produces can be filtered to files, displayed graphically in standard or custom display windows, or used to transfer control to hardware or software debuggers. Architects and developers have full control over how the information is displayed and interpreted for maximum insight into the systemís performance and behavior. Metrix fits seamlessly into the overall development flow through its integration with VaSTís CoMET, an architectural exploration and analysis product; and METeor, a software development and debugging product. Both CoMET and METeor incorporate VaSTís patented virtual platform simulation technology.
ďToday, SoC developers must be concerned both with time-to-market and the high cost of a re-spin due to an inadequate development methodology,Ē said VaST CEO Graham Hellestrand. ďTo be successful, they need a very high performance virtual platform which incorporates a very high performance processor model together with thoroughly integrated tools. Weíre pleased to be delivering another tool to help developers concurrently increase product reliability and development speed.Ē
About Virtual Platforms
A virtual platform, running on an off-the-shelf PC, is a model of a complex hardware/software system that executes embedded software, accurately predicting the systemís real-world behavior. VaSTís virtual platforms can be networked computing systems each incorporating processor models that are cycle-accurate, run actual binary code and are fast enough to boot operating systems in seconds. This level of accuracy is essential for development of applications and systems with real-time performance requirements, such as safety-critical control. SoCs developed with virtual platforms are used in the wireless, automotive, and consumer markets, and in products such as 3G cell phones, automotive power-train controls and digital cameras.
More about CoMET and METeor
CoMET is used to construct and modify virtual platforms, and to analyze them when running a heavy software load. It provides cycle-accurate simulation of virtual platforms including processors, buses and peripherals. Cycle accuracy means that these virtual platforms will be used for detailed analysis of behavior of complex systems, development of software with real-time constraints such as wireless and automotive devices, development of hardware-dependent software such as real-time operating systems and device drivers, and for the development of middleware and applications requiring accurate timing and power consumption estimates. In many applications, VaSTís virtual platforms execute code faster than actual hardware, making them suitable for developing any type of embedded software.
When a platform design is finalized, engineers can freeze it for use in METeor, which is used to develop, edit, compile, and debug embedded software by running the software on the virtual platform.
Price and Availability
Metrix is available now, as an option to CoMET and METeor, to new and existing customers. U.S. pricing for a permanent node-locked license of Metrix for CoMET users starts at $5000; Metrix for METeor users is $2000. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
VaST Systems Technology Corporation develops tools for creating cycle-accurate high-performance virtual platforms for pre-silicon architectural analysis, embedded software development and hardware/software co-verification. Current customers of VaSTís products include worldwide leaders in automotive electronics, wireless devices, and consumer electronics. VaST is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with sales offices worldwide. For more information, visit www.vastsystems.com.
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