Santa Cruz, Calif. - Offering technology that it claims will automate the electronic-system-level (ESL) to RTL design flow, startup SpiraTech Ltd. has announced Cohesive, a tool set that bridges multiple levels of abstraction. Based on SystemC interface models, it claims to provide the first ESL-to-RTL debugger, system-level performance profiler and multilevel protocol checker.
"To get from ESL to silicon you have to have a flow from ESL to RTL, and that does not exist in any ESL platform from any of the major vendors," said Simon Calder, vice president of sales and marketing at SpiraTech (Manchester, England). "This is the first tool that really offers ESL users an automated flow to RTL."
The tool set includes Cohesive Transformer, an ESL-to-RTL debugger; Cohesive Adaptors, which are SystemC interface models for protocols such as PCI and AMBA AHB; and Cohesive Generator, which allows users to produce their own adaptors.
The result, said Gary Smith, chief EDA analyst at Gartner Dataquest, is a communications compiler. That's an emerging area of ESL that includes vendors like Sonics and Novilit. "I think they [SpiraTech] have a good shot," Smith said, noting that the technical team behind the company has been working on ESL since the early 1990s.
According to the company, ESL abstraction levels include the programmer's view, sometimes called instruction-accurate; programmer's view with timing, sometimes called performance-accurate; cycle callable, where timing relates to transaction cycles; and cycle-accurate, where timing approaches RTL precision.
In addition to Cohesive Adaptors for PCI Express, Amba AHB and UARTs, SpiraTech plans to offer Adaptors for protocols such as Ethernet and USB.
While Adaptors could conceivably be used on their own, the Cohesive Transformer requires at least one Adaptor to work.
This debugging tool displays the cause-and-effect relationships between different levels of abstraction.
In addition to simulation debugging, the Transformer captures and relates performance metrics, such as reads, writes, transactions and events.
Calder noted that the Transformer can be used in a SystemC/HDL cosimulation environment; with SystemC alone, or with an HDL simulator alone. The Transformer currently supports the open-source SystemC simulator and Mentor Graphics' ModelSim RTL simulator.
Transformer is available now starting at $20,000. PCI and Amba AHB Adaptors are $10,000, and the UART Adaptor is $2,000. The Generator tool starts at $75,000.
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