SAN FRANCISCO Embedded systems design tool startup CriticalBlue has added support for IBM Corp.'s Power architecture to its Cascade co-processor synthesis tool.
According to CriticalBlue (San Joe, Calif.), co-processor synthesis boosts embedded systems processing performance by creating a loosely coupled programmable co-processor to accelerate the execution of compiled binary executable software code offloaded from the main processor in the system. Optimal utilization of general purpose embedded processors, such as those based on the Power architecture, is achieved through offloading certain compute intensive functions which are commonly found in today’s embedded software, the company said.
Co-processor synthesis reduces system power consumption while freeing up the main Power microprocessor to perform other tasks, CriticalBlue said, ultimately accelerating the execution of embedded software running on Power devices.
According to the company, Cascade users do not need to alter their methodologies of flows for software development or for hardware implementation. Cascade reads in the application executable code, which has been compiled, for the main Power microprocessor in the system, then allows users to select which software routines are to be offloaded onto the co-processor as well as setting performance and area constraints for the software synthesis stage inside Cascade, CriticalBlue said.
During synthesis, CriticalBlue said, Cascade optimizes the co-processor data cache architecture and sizes both data and instruction caches. It also optimizes the datapaths inside the coprocessor based on low level analysis of the software application itself, the company said, then produces register-transfer language (RTL) which is ready for logic synthesis. CriticalBlue said Cascade automatically deals with all the hardware and software interfacing issues between the main Power microprocessor and the generated coprocessor, via the system bus.
Cascade will initially support the 405 and 440 Power Architecture cores. The underlying support will be for the Power instruction set, CriticalBlue said, making the addition of other Power cores in the future a straightforward process.
“Engineering work has already started on the Power version of Cascade and we are actively engaging with early adopter customers and scheduling evaluations for early in 2006,” said David Stewart, CriticalBlue CEO, in a statement.
CriticalBlue was among eight companies that joined Power.org, an open community developing standards and applications around the Power architecture, on Monday (Sept. 26).