Embedded systems: Standards groups seek support for virtualized system development

Organizations involved in the creation of standards for embedded design are taking several different approaches to support virtualized system development (VSD). Support is crucial, but how to do you choose? Here’s a guide.


By Michel Genard, Virtutech

Throughout 2009, the economic downturn will impact standards organizations just as hard as the electronic systems industry that they support. As cash gets tighter, companies will carefully evaluate their relationships with these groups and put their resources toward the organizations that deliver the most value. In return, these organizations will be challenged to maintain the critical mass necessary to keep the lights on and deliver meaningful work. An examination of organizations involved in the creation of standards for embedded design — including standards for virtualized system development (VSD) — reveals several different approaches in this economically challenging environment.

The thriving Eclipse open source community ( www.eclipse.org ) is focused on building an open development platform composed of extensible frameworks, tools, and runtimes for building, deploying, and managing software across the lifecycle. Eclipse supports specific groups dedicated to modelization and simulation on the enterprise level, which ultimately will impact the device level as well.

The SPIRIT Consortium’s new IP-XACT 1.4 specification expands the range of IP that can be used in an IP-XACT Design Environment and targets new applications, specifically those dealing with transactional modeling and advanced verification methodologies.

A more specific standards organization is OSCI ( www.systemc.org ), an independent non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and defining standards for electronic system-level (ESL) design. Last June, OSCI released TLM 2.0, an interface standard that enables model interoperability and reuse at the transaction level.

TLM 2.0 provides an essential ESL framework for architecture analysis, software development, software performance analysis, and hardware verification. Since model interoperability helps promote more open, flexible development, TLM 2.0 is a standard that will gain traction in the electronics systems industry throughout the years to come. OSCI will continue to promote TLM 2.0 adoption through advertising, webinars, and other industry education initiatives.

Another standards organization, The Spirit Consortium ( www.spiritconsortium.org ), addresses an even broader challenge: How to exchange information in a language-agnostic fashion.

2009 is also lining up to be the year of multicore within the semiconductor industry. The Multicore Association ( www.multicore-association.org ) is an open membership organization that includes leading companies implementing products that embrace multicore technology. Its members represent vendors of processors, operating systems, compilers, development tools, debuggers, ESL/EDA tools, simulators, as well as application and system developers, and share the objective of defining and promoting open specifications. Despite the fact that this is a young group, its charter is very promising.

Another specific semiconductor organization is Power.org ( www.power.org ) . With a dedicated focus on Power Architecture brand systems, Power.org has already produced interesting reference documents to help engineers with the deployment

It’s also interesting to look at GreenSocs ( www.greensocs.com ), which is dedicated to helping the ESL community quickly develop models and tools that can be used together independent of vendor (whether the vendor is of the models or the tools). Even if GreenSocs is a for-profit organization, it operates pretty much like other open source projects. Its scope includes everything from package management for ESL, simple IP blocks, integrations with scripting tools and of course interfaces. For companies looking to build their own ESL solution, GreenSocs is an interesting fit. Some of the GreenSocs technologies also have been contributed to TLM 2.0.

Perhaps the most intriguing group standards organization of all is STARC. ( www.starc.jp/index-e.html Established in Japan in 1995, this research consortium was co-founded by major Japanese semiconductor companies to contribute to the growth of the industry

The long-term result of STARC should be an accelerated evolution of hardware design paired with increasing software innovation. STARC is intriguing because Japan has a unique history in how it approaches standards creation and best practices.

As we can see, there are different approaches that standards and community organizations can take to solving industry challenges. We encourage the entire electronic systems community to support them. Their work of creating standards for the virtualized system development (VSD) industry is crucial to driving mainstream acceptance of VSD, and our support can make a big difference to these organizations over the next several months.

Michel Genard is vice president of marketing at Virtutech , the leader in virtualized system development (VSD) solutions for electronic systems.

Researchers from client companies apply to participate in joint research conducted at STARC. Joint research themes are selected from pre-competitive technical fields that are targeted for practical application in 5-10 years, shared key technologies that should be tackled by the industry as a whole, or from research and development linked to the further training of young university researchers.

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

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