The folks at Synopsys have introduced their expanded Confirma rapid prototyping platform. The addition of the recently acquired CHIPit products, tools, and technologies is claimed to simplify the implementation and deployment of rapid prototypes, allowing users to begin hardware-assisted system validation and embedded software development sooner.
This takes a little effort to wrap one's brain around, so let's take it from the top... as we all know, ASIC / ASSP / SoC designs continue to increase in size, complexity, and cost. At the same time, aggressive competition makes today's electronics markets extremely sensitive to time-to-market pressures. The Confirma verification platform from Synopsys provides a tightly-integrated, easy-to-use, and comprehensive at-speed verification environment that dramatically accelerates the functional verification of ASICs / ASSPs / SoCs.
Now, the previous generation of the Confirma verification platform comprised three main components as follows:
- The Certify implementation software, which takes an existing ASIC / ASSP / SoC design and partitions it into multiple FPGAs. Certify also includes Synplify Premier graph-based physical synthesis, which provides rapid timing closure and up to a 5-20% timing improvement over conventional synthesis solutions.
- The Identify Pro software, featuring TotalRecall technology. This provides designers with full visibility into complex FPGA-based ASIC/ASSP prototypes enabling them to find bugs at hardware speed and debug the cause of error in a familiar simulation environment. Identify Pro software works in a complementary manner to other verification methodologies, such as assertion-based verification and simulation, significantly improving overall productivity.
- The High-performance ASIC Prototyping System (HAPS), which is a high capacity FPGA-based system for ASIC and ASSP prototyping. HAPS is a modular system with multi-FPGA motherboards and standard or custom-made daughter boards, which can be stacked together in a variety of ways. Some of the functions available on the standard daughter boards are video processing, various types of memory, and interfaces to Ethernet, USB, PCI Express, PCI-X, and ARM.
Complementing the HAPS high-performance prototyping hardware, the expanded Confirma platform now also offers a software-configurable architecture and transaction-based co-verification capability. With the combination of a proven prototyping methodology, IP, services, hardware and software, the Confirma platform is a comprehensive solution for a wide variety of prototyping applications.
With this latest offering, Synopsys provides an extremely comprehensive Software-to-Silicon Verification Solution – including rapid prototyping, virtual platforms, functional verification, and analog/mixed signal circuit simulation – addressing the key challenges in the ASIC / ASSP / SoC verification process.
The economics of hardware-assisted verification
The growing complexity of chip design and software content is increasing the cost of embedded software development and system validation. Traditional approaches such as "big-box" emulation systems are too expensive and slow for wide deployment to embedded software developers and verification teams.
Custom-built FPGA-based prototypes can address these issues but are difficult, time-consuming and expensive to implement and debug. The Confirma rapid prototyping platform helps solve the problems associated with these traditional approaches and brings all the critical components together into a comprehensive and affordable solution that enables more design teams to take advantage of the benefits of hardware-assisted verification.
The expanded Confirma platform
The expanded Confirma platform is a complete suite of products for rapid prototyping including FPGA-based prototyping systems and boards, interface and memory boards, and implementation and debug software. The Confirma platform provides all of the elements needed to quickly implement a rapid prototype:
The CHIPit family of rapid prototyping systems featuring a programmable interconnect architecture for greater automation and providing emulation-like capabilities optimized for transaction-based verification:
The HAPS family of rapid prototyping boards providing high performance for system validation and embedded software development:
An extensive collection of high-speed interface and expansion boards enabling prototypes to be easily customized to cover a wide range of applications (of particular interest is the fact that these boards work with both the HAPS boards and CHIPit systems):
- CHIPit Manager Pro prototype configuration and project management software
- SCE-MI (Standard Co-Emulation Modeling Interface) compliant transaction-based co-verification interface
- Certify multi-FPGA partitioning and implementation software
- Identify Pro debug software with TotalRecall visibility enhancement technology
- Synplify Premier, a technology-leading FPGA physical synthesis tool
Complementing these product offerings are a wide range of service, training and support options, ranging from one-week training classes to full turn-key services as well as Synopsys' worldwide support for geographically distributed hardware and software design teams.
A comprehensive "Software-to-Silicon" verification solution
The Confirma rapid prototyping platform is part of Synopsys' Software-to-Silicon Verification Solution that is claimed to offer the industry's most comprehensive suite of proven embedded software development, system validation, functional verification, and circuit simulation software, hardware, intellectual property (IP), methodologies, and services for complex system-on-chip (SoC) development.
New solution-level integration includes co-simulation and debugging between Synopsys' Confirma platform and the VCS high-performance simulator, and support for synthesizable DesignWare IP in Confirma rapid prototypes. The Confirma products also integrate with Innovator-based virtual platforms to enable a hybrid virtual/physical prototyping environment for embedded software development and verification.
Rapid prototyping seminars and workshops
Synopsys is planning a series of educational half-day management seminars and full-day hands-on technical workshops focused on rapid prototyping starting in February 2009. For more information and to register please visit: