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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Key deal sees access to the heart of an SoC for embedded debug

By Nick Flaherty

UltraSoc integration enables vendor-independent debug within industry standard toolchain
A key deal for embedded chip designers and developers sees UltraSoC and Lauterbach collaborating on a powerful, fully-featured independent system-on-chip (SoC) development and debug environment. 
Combining Lauterbach’s TRACE32 integrated, universal development system with UltraSoC’s on-chip debug and analytics IP has the potential to dramatically ease the work of engineering teams creating the advanced SoCs needed in industries as diverse as mobile communications, automotive and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Today’s silicon chips can incorporate over a billion transistors and are constructed from many tens of different functional blocks, mixing purchased processor cores, IP re-used from previous designs, and custom logic developed by the design team itself; they also run substantial amounts of software. This complexity makes it very difficult to understand the behavior of the complete system when it is finally pieced together – even for the engineers who designed and developed it. This in turn can lead to chips that do not deliver the expected performance, or contain hard-to-find bugs, leading to significant extra engineering costs, products that miss their market window, and occasionally even field failures. UltraSoC and Lauterbach’s collaboration addresses these problems.
TRACE32 is a set of modular embedded development tools with integrated debug environments that support all of the processor architectures commonly used in the market today. UltraSoC’s IP works inside the SoC itself, monitoring and analyzing the real-world behavior of any on-chip structure – and the device as a whole – non-intrusively and at wire speed. Together, TRACE32 and UltraSoC’s IP give design teams complete visibility of the real-world behavior of their devices – vital in the debugging process which can consume up to half of the total development effort for a typical SoC.
“The combination of TRACE32 and UltraSoC is a powerful one," said Norbert Weiss, head of sales and marketing at Lauterbach. "This allows users of our tools to gain an intimate understanding of the behavior of the whole of the SoC, including all the on-chip structures such as busses and custom logic, in addition to our existing support for all of the common embedded processors. UltraSoC’s message-based on-chip infrastructure and high-speed external interface capabilities – USB for example – open up a range of new possibilities for users of our development tools.”
The TRACE32 debug tools provide quick, effective debugging for more than 80 processor architectures, with full support for the entire debug process, including run control, OS-support, multicore debugging and on-chip trace. The debugger supports multiple programming languages, most compilers and hosts, and a broad variety of multicore architectures. Interfacing the UltraSoC on-chip debug and analytics fabric with TRACE32 gives users full control over the debug features of UltraSoC’s silicon IP, and full access to the information generated by the company’s range of on-chip monitors and analytics engines.
As well as connecting externally with the debug host, the UltraSoC architecture includes an on-chip message-based interconnect, and allows monitoring of any third party processor core, bus or custom logic block. This ability to create a holistic, overarching development and analytics solution is key to solving the tricky problems posed by heterogeneous multi-core SoCs running complex software.

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