Altera announced its collaboration with Mentor Graphics to provide embedded software developers access to best-in-class Vista virtual platforms that support Altera’s entire SoC FPGA portfolio, including its third-generation 14 nm Stratix 10 SoCs with a 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor. These advanced SoC virtual platforms accelerate embedded software development across the entire product life cycle for significant time to market advantage and reduced cost.
The Mentor Graphics Vista SoC virtual platforms are pre-built, fully functional simulation models of the ARM processor subsystems featured in each of Altera’s 28nm, 20nm, and 14nm SoC FPGA families. Software developers can use the Stratix 10 SoC virtual platform to start embedded software development and debug for the integrated 64-bit ARMv8-based processor subsystem well before first silicon availability.
Additionally, SoC virtual platforms simplify embedded software development and reduce the need for expensive hardware by enabling large development teams to perform application development and software regression testing in a virtual environment that models an Altera SoC FPGA.
“Virtual prototyping is a proven methodology for software development and providing our customers with a comprehensive set of SoC virtual platforms will greatly reduce their development time while slashing development costs,” said Joerg Bertholdt, director of embedded software marketing at Altera. “As a result, software developers leveraging any of our industry-leading SoC solutions can start their development earlier and maximize their design team productivity.”
These virtual platforms are comprised of an Instruction Set Simulator CPU model plus peripheral device models, delivered as a stand-alone binary executable which is downloaded, installed and run together with a pre-built Linux image on a host PC. In addition, a model of custom functions in the FPGA fabric can be linked to the virtual platform for system-level simulation. The virtual platforms support both bare-metal and Linux operating system environments and allow software execution and debug on multi-core configurations of Altera’s SoCs.
Basing the SoC virtual platforms on the Mentor Graphics Vista technology provides users a seamless migration to Mentor’s Vista Virtual Prototyping solutions. The Vista Virtual Prototyping tool suite provides additional insight into hardware/software interaction or non-intrusive profiling and analysis and extends the SoC virtual platforms.
“Altera is the SoC FPGA industry leader and recognized the importance of providing solutions that are supported by an outstanding set of software tools that simplify hardware and software design,” said Guy Moshe, general manager of the Design Creation Business Unit within Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division. “Our collaboration with Altera to provide a comprehensive portfolio of SoC virtual platforms allows developers of Altera SoC FPGAs to balance performance, accuracy and cost, while dramatically accelerating their software development.”