Taken for Granted

ESL, embedded processors, and more

DAC 2009 Thoughts: PBD == VP ???

Filed under: Uncategorized — July 31, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

This is the last post I will write based on DAC 2009 (unless, of course, something occurs to me next week!). This one is sparked by several remarks made in a number of the presentations I attended at DAC, to do with the relationship between Platform-Based Design (PBD) and Virtual Platforms or Virtual Prototypes (VP). It seems, as we predicted more than a decade ago in Surviving the SoC Revolution: a guide to platform-based design, that there is a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship between the notion of a system or SoC “platform”, and the high-level system models or “virtual platforms” that assist in designing and verifying at the ESL level. At the DAC 2009 Virtual Platform Workshop, Ramesh Chandra of Qualcomm was very explicit on this theme, and that the platform-based methodology, based on virtual platforms, was the way to go from architectural development to microarchitectural and more detailed design development.

Since the concepts of platform based design are now well established for complex SoC design, and since virtual platforms/high level system modelling is a reality of what we call “ESL” (along with high-level synthesis), we can expect to see further consolidation of design practices along these lines in the next few years. This still leaves many interesting system level design problems to solve – among which are to build solid flows between algorithm development and architectural specification and development – which are still at a pretty rudimentary stage, although there is a lot of interesting research and some early ideas being worked. The application-specific instruction set processor (ASIP) idea is one that allows interesting links between algorithms and optimal implementations to be worked out, of course!


  1. Jakob Engblom:

    The important use-case that this equation between “design” and “virtual platform” misses is the use of virtual platforms for hardware that is not new or not designed using a virtual platform/ESL methodology.

    The utility of a virtual platform is often independent of the hardware design process: software developers use them without any regard for how the hardware they represent was designed.

  2. Grant Martin:

    Someone of a PBD leaning would say that developing new SW on an existing platform using a virtual platform model is indeed an example of platform-based design – it is building a derivative product from the platform in which software is the chosen implementation medium rather than hardware or a mix of new HW and new SW in the derivative.
    And hopefully the SW is designed! not just written.

  3. SKMurphy » DAC 2009 Blog Coverage Roundup:

    [...] Grant Martin wrote three: “ESL is Real“, “Attendance Numbers“,”Platform Based Design = Virtual Platform“ [...]

  4. Soha Hassoun:

    hey Grant — and others: The workshop presentations are now available at http://www.ovpworld.org/resources/virtual-platform-workshop-dac09.php.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>