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Summit Design offers 'personal edition' of SystemC IDE on Web

Posted: 01 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IDE? SytemC? Summit Design Inc.? OSCI SystemC verification library? Richard Goering?

You don't need a big corporate CAD budget to get started with SystemC. Summit Design Inc. recently rolled out Vista-PE, a $1,995 "personal edition" of its Vista integrated development environment (IDE) for SystemC.

Meanwhile, Summit has added an option to Vista that lets intellectual-property (IP) developers create and compile SystemC models based on the Open SystemC International simulation kernel. By compiling into plain OSCI code, the IP can be distributed without a Vista license.

Sold and supported online, Vista-PE is aimed primarily at individual purchasers. "We're trying to grow the SystemC market by taking a subset of the features that will help people bring up SystemC and explore the language," said Emil Girczyc, Summit's president and CEO. "We hope people will look at and adopt SystemC more quickly."

The full-fledged Vista IDE lists for $8,000 for a single seat, and is sold and supported through a conventional EDA sales channel. Girczyc said the seat count exceeds 100. The Vista-PE, he said, has all the features of the full-fledged Vista at the module level. What it lacks is features aimed at the full system level, such as a transaction sequence viewer that supports transaction-level modeling. Also missing from the low-cost version is support for third-party tools, including a co-simulation capability with Synopsys' VCS simulator and a link to the Forte Design SystemC synthesis tool.

Users who really want to save money can use the Gnu C++ compiler and the OSCI simulation kernel for free. But Vista-PE provides advantages, Girczyc said. It understands such concepts as channels and hierarchy, provides a waveform viewer, lets users set breakpoints on instances and supports multiple-thread debugging.

"Software is typically a single execution thread, but SystemC and hardware are inherently parallel, so you want to see what's happening at this point in time in other parts of your circuit," Girczyc said.

Vista-PE supports design introspection with a C++ class view browser, a SystemC design view browser, and an ability to view design objects and class member values. Data acquisition capabilities let users acquire C++ objects at any time, inspect local variables and save value change dump output from a waveform. SystemC debug supports breakpoints, next-step control, switching between stack frames, and switching between SystemC threads and local variables.

Like the full Vista, Vista-PE supports the OSCI SystemC verification library, transaction-level modeling standard and OCP-IP ver 2.1. Vista-PE supports the OSCI SystemC 2.0.1 and 2.1 releases, but not the more recent SystemC 2.1 ver 1 release.

Vista-PE is sold with a perpetual node-locked license, a typical model for PC-based tools. Windows support is not expected until the end of the year. For now, Vista-PE runs on Linux and Solaris platforms. Girczyc noted that Vista-PE is not available in some parts of Asia.

Summit recently added an "-OSCI" switch to Vista that compiles and links the user's SystemC design to the OSCI SystemC simulation kernel. Resulting IP can be simulated without requiring a Vista license.

- Richard Goering
EE Times




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