Rewind the clock a couple of decades and the U.S. was in the midst of the space race and the cold war. Both of these led to huge investments in technology and arguable helped the U.S. become the most recognized center for advanced technologies and that kept it in a globally competitive position. But both of those programs have ended and with it much of the technology funding. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) used to lead many of those programs and one in particular (RASSP) led to the VHDL language. It is ironic that Europe has always been the major user of that language, while the U.S. preferred to continue with Verilog. I can’t remember the last time an EDA company was involved in a DARPA program.
But Europe continued with this type of program and particularly ones that bring technology together from several companies. This not only helps to foster communications and cooperation between European companies but also helps fund many innovative ideas, tools and companies. I was made aware of one such program last week by Space Codesign Systems. The company name actually has nothing to do with cosmic things, or any connection with the European Space Agency’s TASTE tool set, which is the program they got involved with. Nor is the company European – they are based in Canada, but just happen to speak French which is an advantage given that the company that got them involved is M3 from France.
The TASTE project (They must have a department of acronyms. TASTE stands for - The ASSERT Set Of Tools for Engineering – and no, I have no idea what ASSERT is an acronym for and how many levels deep this may actually go) is all about increasing productivity by increasing automation of aerospace and satellite electronics development. Up to this point, the TASTE project has concentrated on boards and components, but with Space Codesign getting involved, it enables TASTE to look more at the chip level and the creation of architectures to map software functionality onto rather than using fixed hardware architectures.
Why are they getting interested in this now? The processing requirement for modern data streams has made it more difficult for them to meet their goals with a fixed hardware architecture. This is the same progression as happened in the consumer market as we went from short messages, to voice, to video. Each of these has a huge increase in raw data and this data needs to be processed in real time. In addition they cannot send raw data anymore, meaning the data has to be compressed and encrypted at the source – requiring a significant increase in compute power. Of course, just like the consumer market this has to be done within strict power, weight and cost guidelines.
They have just completed their proof of concept phase and now they have to wait to see if a real production flow will be constructed utilizing their software.
Good luck guys.Brian Bailey
– keeping you covered
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