8-core microprocessor drives news at FTF Americas

Development tools providers rush to support extreme-multicore device.


Orlando, FL Freescale Semiconductor’s announcement of an 8-core processor on Freescale Technology Forum– Americas 2008 conference held here June 16-19. Embedded system development-tools providers rushed to announce support for the new multicore device. In related news, Freescale also announced conversion of its CodeWarrior development tools to the Opensource standard Eclipse integrated development environment.
Freescale says the P4080 multicore processor, the signature member of Freescale's new QorIQ product line, is based on 45-nm process technology. It integrates 8 enhanced Power Architecture cores, a tri-level cache hierarchy, CoreNet on-chip fabric and datapath acceleration, and operates within a 30 W (maximum) power envelope. A hybrid simulation model of the QorIQ P4080 device is being demonstrated at this week's Freescale Technology Forum and is scheduled for availability from Virtutech later this year. The QorIQ P4080 processor is scheduled to begin sampling in mid-2009.
Having simulation models available in advance of part availability very important to embedded-system developers. They must spend months engineering application software to run on the processors. Having virtual models available to start this process in advance of part availability can shave months off development time.
The QorIQ P4080 reportedly provides concurrent handling of control-plane data-plane and application layer processing tasks. It is ideal for applications such as switches, enterprise and service provider routers, access and media gateways, base station controllers, radio network controllers (RNCs), and general-purpose embedded computing systems in the networking, telecom, industrial, military and aerospace markets.
Green Hills Software celebrated their 25 year partnership with Freescale by announcing a development partnership with Freescale to produce multicore development tools for the new QorIQ platforms. The company says these development tools will feature capabilities unavailable on competing processors, enabling developers to bring their QorIQ platform-based products to market faster and with higher quality. Green Hills demonstrated the Multi IDE simultaneously debugging 8 cores on Freescale’s processor running on the Virtutech Simics system simulator. The demonstration also included the company’s Integrity RTOS with Padded Cell hypervisor hosting both applications and guest operating systems.
For its own part, virtualized software development (VSD) solution provider Virtutech announced a hybrid simulation capability that supports multiple levels of model abstraction within its Simics simulation environment. The company says that this capability provides a fully reversible and deterministic simulation environment for easy experimentation with partitioning, parallelizing and optimizing systems and applications. Support for the QorIQ P4080 processor is the first implementation of this capability. Freescale will demonstrate the Simics hybrid simulation capabilities together with Freescale’s cycle accurate model of the QorIQ P4080 processor at this week’s Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando.
Virtutech says its hybrid simulation approach allows engineers to analyze, debug, profile and execute their applications in a fast, TLM-based, functionally accurate model and then switch to the cycle-accurate model when they want to perform precise performance analysis on critical sections of their application. In addition, by incorporating the golden model from a semiconductor vendor such as Freescale, developers have the benefit of using an accurate timing model provided by the source of the SoC instead of a less valid one developed by a third party.
Wind River Systems announced its own software development solution to provide pre-silicon support for Freescale's new QorIQ P4080 multicore processor will include support for both VxWorks and Wind River Linux, along with Wind River's Eclipse-based Workbench development suite, running on Virtutech's Simics simulator. The company says this comprehensive and optimized combination of run-times and development tools will simplify and accelerate the migration and adoption of multicore technology on Freescale's new hardware platform.
Multicore migration: "Customers looking to realize the benefits of migrating and adopting multicore processing must maximize the full potential of the technology while leveraging years of existing investments," said Tomas Evensen, chief technology officer of Wind River. "In many cases, customers exploring multicore application design want both VxWorks and Wind River Linux to simultaneously start up and run together, and communicate as processes occur. By collaborating with Freescale and Virtutech, we are optimizing our run-times and development tools to create a breakthrough solution that will simplify multicore adoption and expedite the immediate benefits these technologies offer."
Also read:

Freescale IDE moves to Eclipse

Freescale: Forum starts; ECG chip, radio control standard, MRAM

C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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