LONDON A simulator developed by the University of Southampton whose roots go back to research collaboration with another U.K. University, Newcastle, into developing interconnection technologies for multiprocessor SoCs, has been made available for download and is said to pave the way for more competitive handheld computing devices.
Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi and his team at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics & Computer Science (ECS) have dubbed the simulator NIRGAM (Network-on-Chip Interconnect RoutinG and Applications Modelling).
According to Al-Hashimi, as the demand for more functionality from hand-held devices increases, the current interconnection techniques will not be adequate to support more powerful devices, due to limited bandwidth scalability. This was the reason for the original work, started in 2005 with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
"The microelectronics industry predicts that in 2008 SoCs will contain over 50 processing and memory blocks and this will increase to 100 cores in 2012," he said.
Al-Hashimi adds the simulator has already been downloaded over 100 times, mainly by developers of SoC and Network-on- Chip (NoC) devices, since it allows researchers to plug-in and experiment with different applications and routing algorithms using different traffic and topologies.
"The availability of such a simulator is vital for researchers since it will enable them to evaluate quickly their routing algorithms and applications on a NoC platform, and without the need to develop long programs," said Al-Hashimi.