ADL-driven Software Toolkit Generation for Architectural Exploration of Programmable SOCs


Prabhat Mishra , Aviral Shrivastava , and Nikil Dutt

ACM TODAES: ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems

Abstract: The increasing complexity of system functionality and advances in semiconductor technology have resulted in system implementations using programmable Systems-on-Chips (SOCs). Furthermore as the software content of such SOCs dominates the design process, there is a critical need to support exploration and evaluation of different architectural configurations. The increasing software content coupled with decreasing time-to-market create a critical need for automated software generation tools to increase designer productivity. Traditional hardware-software codesign flows do not support necessary exploration and customization of the embedded processors. However the inherently application specific nature of the embedded processors and the stringent area, power and performance constraints in embedded systems design critically require fast and automated architecture exploration methodology. Architecture Description Language (ADL)-driven design space exploration and software toolkit generation strategies have become popular recently. This approach provides a systematic mechanism for a top-down design and validation framework, which is very important to develop complex systems. The heart of this approach lies in the ability to automatically generate software toolkit including a architecture-sensitive compiler, a cycle accurate simulator, assembler, debugger, and verification/validation tools. This paper presents a software toolkit generation methodology using the EXPRESSION ADL. Our exploration studies demonstrate the need and usefulness of this approach in compiler-in-the-loop design space exploration of reduced instruction-set architectures.

Center For Embedded Computer Systems,
Department of Information and Computer Science,
University of California, Irvine.