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MATLAB/Simulink Based Hardware/Software Co-Simulation for Designing Using FPGA Configured Soft Processors

By Jingzhao Ou and Viktor K. Prasanna


FPGA configured soft processors are an attractive choice for implementing many embedded systems. For application development using these soft processors, the users can execute portions of the applications as software programs and the other portions as customized hardware implementations. Being able to rapidly simulate various partitions of the applications on hardware and software is crucial to efficiently execute them on soft processors because (a) there are many possible configurations of soft processors, and (b) low-level simulation techniques are too time consuming for evaluating these different partitioning and configuration possibilities. While stateof-the-art design tools rely on low-level simulation and are unable to deliver such a fast simulation speed, we propose a high-level cycle-accurate hardware/software cosimulation environment based on MATLAB/Simulink for application development using soft processors. By utilizing the high-level cycle-accurate abstractions of the low-level hardware implementations and the arithmetic simulation capability provided by MATLAB/Simulink, our tool considerably accelerates the time for cycle-accurate functional simulation of both hardware and software portions of a given application running on soft processors. To illustrate our approach, we develop a CORDIC division application and a matrix multiplication application on a commercial soft processor. Up to 19.4x improvement in simulation time is achieved using our co-simulation environment compared with that of low-level simulation for various partitions of these applications and for various configurations of the soft processor. Integrated with multi-million gate configurable logic and various heterogeneous hardware components (such as embedded multipliers and memory blocks), FPGAs hav

Year: 2009
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