Cypress has just released version 2.0 of their PSoC Creator Design Environment. This is an interesting tool in that it follows my DAC 2010 prediction regarding the four way merger of hardware and software, tools and IP as we move towards successful ESL tools. PSoC Creator was already a tool that merged the notion of tool and IP, and with the 2.0 release they have done that even more. They have also started the merge between hardware and software although this has a ways to go yet before I would say they are fully integrated. But lets back up a bit.
PSoC is a programmable device family where each device contains a processor, some configurable digital parts and some configurable analog parts. All of these are stitched together by programmable interconnect. The goal of their Creator tool is to hide all of the implementation details from the user. In a BDTI study conducted in early 2010, back-end layout and route was the number one issue for flows based on FPGAs.
Hiding the back-end allows the user to think about the design and not the silicon or even the hardware blocks involved. It uses a schematic user interface and a simple intuitive configuration editor. The library currently contains 147 components and two or three new ones are added every couple of months.
Figure 1: Schematic entry
Figure 2: Configuring IP elements
In the 2.0 release they have also integrated Keil MicroVision
which enables device firmware to be created and built for the PSoC family and fully kept in sync with configuration changes made in the design. They see this as a very necessary step because the sophistication of these devices has gone from being a one-man show type design, so a group effort and this requires more co-operation and control of the data as it gets generated throughout the design process.Brian Bailey
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