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Altium introduces next-gen unified hardware/software compiler tech

Posted: 07 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Embedded Systems Conference? Altium? software? compiler? Viper?

At this week's Embedded Systems Conference in Silicon Valley, Altium Ltd, a developer of Windows-based electronics design software, unveiled its next-generation unified hardware/software compiler technology.

Built on the company's Viper ANSI/ISO C-compiler platform, the new compiler system can simultaneously generate both executable code and concurrent hardware for implementation in FPGAs from standard C code. Aside from the target executable code and FPGA hardware implementations, the system also generates all of the required code to link the two together at run-time.

"Through our TASKING products, we have distilled more than 25 years' experience in building highly-optimized C compilers into our Viper technology," said Nick Martin, founder and CEO of Altium, in a statement. "This has allowed us to take C compilation to the next level and provide embedded software developers with real and practical access to concurrent hardware implementation using FPGAs without the need for RTL/hardware design expertise."

The initial application of this next-generation compiler technology will allow embedded engineers using Altium's Designer unified electronic product development system to accelerate applications by automatically and transparently offloading selected C functions from the processor into hardware. The company explained that the system automatically generates hardware within an FPGA to execute the selected functions, and compiles the remaining software to automatically make use of that hardware. The unified compiler technology, said the press release, combined with Altium Designer's hardware- and software-level portability between processors, allows developers to make crucial architectural decisions later in the design process, after the application requirements are more specifically known.

And because the system uses standard ANSI/ISO C, it allows software developers to harness the benefits that programmable hardware can bring to the design process without the need for them to have RTL or board-level hardware design expertise. Additionally, software developers can use their existing skills to manipulate the hardware platform on which their software runs and use hardware as needed to accelerate application performance.




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