ATM White Paper Demystifies SoC System Virtualization

Saratoga, California (PressExposure) November 17, 2009 -- SoC system management is largely architected today using ad hoc solutions, with the burden of development often falling on software teams. When SoC complexity was low, these solutions were cost effective. However, with SoC complexities growing, they are far more difficult now, which is contributing to higher cost and risk factors.

The white paper discusses how employing a more “top down” SoC subsystem approach virtualizes system management, providing a more effective way of coordinating hardware, while also maintaining software synchronization as the various SoC operations states change. “Popular bottoms-up design approaches don’t usually allow enough time or foresight to build in virtualization. In lots of cases, the software developers scramble to make something work.” says Phil Casini, managing partner, ATM. “But the top down approach eliminates a lot of the specific design dependencies, and allows software such as operating systems to even better manage the resources on the chip.”

One of the innovations the new approach enables is the ability to use SoC resources in new ways to improve power management. For example, a system manager can utilize the ordering data for external memory accesses to turn on and off other SoC resources when long access times are anticipated. Adding a simple communications mechanism to a memory controller then could significantly improve battery life for portable applications.

Another important innovation introduced is the concept of command “scripting”, or lists of commands sent to the system manager. Scripts can be mixed and matched in real time as required. Any resource anywhere on the SoC can use a script to have their needs met without executing the tasks themselves. “Now policy making for the various operational modes can be scripted as part of the SoC architecture. This takes a lot of burden off the verification and software development teams and it also mitigates risks.” adds Casini.

The white paper cites Chip Start’s SSM IP as an example of a merchant product now available that employs the SoC virtualization scheme. The white paper can be downloaded free of charge at [].

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Press Release Submitted On: November 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm
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