VaST Speeds Development with CoMET 5 Systems Engineering Environment

5/24/2004 - VaST Systems Technology, known for its fast and accurate system-level tools and simulation models for virtual prototyping, announced the availability of its newest electronic system-level design and embedded software development tool suite, the CoMETTM 5 System Engineering Environment (SEE).

CoMET 5 is used by architects, hardware designers, and software engineers for quantitative architectural design and evaluation, hardware refinement and verification, and software development. Using CoMET 5, engineers can work together early in the system design process to evaluate architectural choices and their implications for both hardware and software development, thus avoiding chip re-spins and speeding development.

CoMET 5 includes two new tools, Virtual Prototype Constructor and Peripheral Builder, which enable semiconductor and systems engineers to create and modify their virtual prototypes without compromising the high performance and accuracy that VaST delivers. CoMET 5 also now includes the Communication Infrastructure Fabric (CIF), a foundation technology that extends the performance and accuracy of virtual prototypes from processors out to buses and peripheral devices. Engineers can now accurately assess the effect of architectural choices at the system, software, and hardware levels.

In addition, CoMET 5 now supports System C, allowing existing peripheral models to run unchanged in the CoMET 5 System Engineering Environment. VaST’s data streaming, analysis, and graphics charting tool, Metrix, also has been enhanced with new analytic and visualization functionality that increases engineering productivity.

Architectural Exploration Reduces Chip Spins
CoMET 5 Systems Engineering Environment is used to create virtual prototypes – software simulations of the real hardware – which are used to architect, build and simulate complex, multi-processor, multiplexed bus systems, systems-on-chip (SoCs) and networked electronic control unit (ECU) designs. Such ECU designs are used in wireless systems, consumer electronic devices and automotive electronics.

Architects use virtual prototypes to evaluate architectural options running real software loads; hardware designers use them to verify that hardware functionality meets market requirements as hardware is built; and software developers use them for pre-silicon software development and easier debugging post-silicon. Working from the same virtual prototype ensures that all groups are coordinated and that each group’s expectations are met early in the design cycle, keeping resource utilization and expense down.

“Systems architects and semiconductor providers need to quantitatively evaluate exactly how changes to silicon will behave under real software loads,” said Graham Hellestrand, VaST CEO. “They need a new level of experimentation, and virtual prototyping gives it to them. By detecting potential problems long before final silicon, they can avoid the million-dollar expense of re-spinning a chip and missing a market opportunity. The benefits extend beyond the walls of one company: virtual prototypes enable a cooperative approach between silicon providers, systems providers and their customers that reduces costs for each and gets new products to market faster.”

VaST Virtual Prototypes Become “Golden Reference Models”
With the CoMET 5 Systems Engineering Environment, hardware designers and software developers are able to use virtual prototypes, specified and developed by their system architects, as behavioral executable specifications. This virtual prototype is the “golden reference model” of the system under development, giving hardware designers a precise, executable model with which to iteratively refine the architecture into a detailed RTL design, ready for synthesis.

The virtual prototype, whether the golden reference or a partially refined RTL model, is always executable and testable, enabling a precise reporting of progress throughout the product development process. CoMET 5 allows extension of the virtual prototype to include on-chip and off-chip peripherals, giving software developers a consistent executable reference specification so they can avoid architectural surprises later in the development cycle.

System C Interface Leverages Existing Models
The VaST simulation kernel now has native support for models that are written in System C, which is rapidly becoming one of the de facto peripheral device modeling languages. These models can be tuned to take advantage of the speed and accuracy offered in CoMET, via the CIF, or can be run as is with no changes.

Metrix Increases Visibility into Internal State, Nets and Signals
One of the key advantages of virtual prototypes over hardware prototypes is the increased observability and controllability. The result is higher quality, reliability and engineering productivity. Complementing CoMET 5, VaST also has enhanced Metrix, its visualization tool. For example, Metrix now has the ability to inject data back into a virtual prototype even during simulation. This capability enables a test harness to interact with, control, diagnose and potentially correct an erroneous state and/or signal information arising in the model.

In addition to the new Metrix functionality, engineers will benefit from open interfaces for software development tools introduced in CoMET 5. Software engineers can use commercial, off-the-shelf software development environments to write embedded software applications with the virtual prototypes just as if they were working with hardware prototypes. They can create, edit, compile, link and load target code, then execute and debug the resulting binary executable directly on the VaST virtual prototype.

Pricing and Availability
Virtual Prototype Constructor, Peripheral Builder and CIF are packaged with the CoMET 5 System Engineering Environment (SEE). A typical configuration of CoMET 5 SEE is $50,000/year including Metrix and maintenance. METeor, VaST’s software development environment, starts at $10,000/year. Both products are in customer use and generally available June 30, 2004. They are being demonstrated at the Design Automation Conference, June 7-11, in San Diego, CA, booth #4625.

About VaST
VaST Systems Technology Corporation provides electronic system design and real-time embedded software development tools. VaST’s architectural design and virtual prototyping tools and software-simulation-based models enable true concurrent development of the hardware and software components of complex embedded systems and systems-on-chip (SoCs). VaST’s products deliver both high speed and cycle accuracy under actual real-time software loads. VaST’s products dramatically improve time to market and quality, and reduce development costs and risk.

Current customers include world leaders in semiconductors, automotive electronics, wireless devices, and consumer electronics. VaST is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with sales and support offices worldwide. For more information, visit

Graphics are available of the CoMET 5 Systems Engineering Environment and of the visibility into the impact of architectural decisions provided by Metrix.

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