SANTA CRUZ, Calif. Target Compiler Technologies, a Belgium-based provider of design tools for application-specific instruction set processors (ASIPs), has expanded its reach to the U.S. and Canada by opening its first North American office. EDA veteran Steve Cox is heading the new office, located in Boulder, Colorado.
Founded in 1996 as a spinoff of the Belgian IMEC research institute, Target sells Chess/Checkers, a toolset that allows users to develop, program and verify customized embedded processors. Chess/Checkers provides architectural exploration, software compilation, and instruction-set simulation. In addition to automatically generating HDL code, it produces a software development tool chain including an instruction set simulator.
Target Compiler Technologies has mostly sold into the European market, and decided it was time to expand to North America, said Cox, vice president of business development in North America. For now, he's the only U.S. employee, but Cox thinks that will change. "The expectation is that activity in the U.S. will cause this site to expand," he said.
Cox said that Target has traditionally sold into the DSP market, and has served designers who are trying to offload functions from standard embedded processors or are seeking a flexible way to implement algorithms. But Target could also serve applications like network processors, he said. Unlike configurable processor providers such as ARC and Tensilica, Cox said, Target has a pure EDA model and does not license intellectual property (IP).
Target isn't prepared to announce any U.S. customers, Cox said, although Texas Instruments uses Target tools for projects in Europe. Other Target customers include Philips, STMicroelectronics, and Nokia.
Cox began his career designing microprocessors for Motorola and Solbourne Computer. In 1992, he founded Idealogy, an EDA products and services company that later merged with Design Acceleration Inc. When that company was purchased by Cadence Design Systems, Cox also joined Cadence, where he worked on that company's verification tools. Most recently Cox was director of engineering at Crosswalk Inc., a storage networking company.
Cox said he came across Target at the Embedded Systems Conference in 2005. "I told them I thought they had a very interesting toolset, and if they wanted to expand, give me a call. They did," he said.