Monday, February 11, 2008

Multicore virtual platforms

I had never heard of multicore virtual platforms before. This article from EE Times claims multi-core debugging issues can be resolved with the use of virtual platforms:

Even a parallel compiler does not address all the challenges posed when processors overwrite each other's memory areas, lock each other out of shared memory and race to complete tasks sooner (or later) than expected. The debugging capabilities of a physical prototype can typically handle freezing only one processor at a time, leaving the others running, and likely writing over memory locations needed for debugging.

Virtual platforms overcome this challenge by freezing all the processors simultaneously (including all IPC hardware and peripheral clocks) at breakpoints, giving complete visibility into all system states. To help achieve this complete hardware visibility, peripheral functionality can be captured in a graphical finite-state machine (FSM) language that combines graphical flowchart constructs with the execution power of ANSI C. This type of graphical language simplifies descriptions of concurrent hardware interactions and dramatically increases the MC visibility and controllability.

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