What I am Reading: Processor and SoC Simulation

Cda_displayimage A new book about processor and system-on-chip simulation recently appeared. Edited by Professor Rainer Leupers and Professor Olivier Temam, it features chapters from a wide spectrum of academic and industrial authors.

The chapters in the book each come from a particular company or research group. Each chapter addresses a different problem or technology, from a different perspective. This provides a good overview of the SoC simulation landscape, from processor architecture through hardware design to software development, system integration, and testing.

I had the honor to co-author one chapter, about Simics. In our chapter, I, Bengt Werner, and Daniel Aarno describe Simics, and try to explain why Simics is designed the way it is. We also describe how Simics works, and how we have architected the product to provide really scalable simulation to support system and software development. You can read the first few pages of the chapter online at SpringerLink.

Other chapters delve deeper into issues like computer architecture research and computer design using simulation, as well as techniques to build simulators and speed up simulation. The book shows how simulation is used throughout the entire lifecycle of an SoC, from initial architecture decisions through hardware implementation, verification  and validation, through to software development and optimization.

I have the book scheduled for reading, looking forward to see how the other chapters finally turned out.


  1. Tennessee Carmel-Veilleux

    Here’s a BiBTeX entry for the Simics chapter, with full abstract and DOI link:
    chapter = {3},
    pages = {25–45},
    title = {Full-System Simulation from Embedded to High-Performance Systems},
    publisher = {Springer US},
    year = {2010},
    editor = {Leupers, Rainer and Temam, Olivier},
    author = {Engblom, Jakob and Aarno, Daniel and Werner, Bengt},
    abstract = {This chapter describes use cases for and benefits of full-system simulation,
    based on more than a decade of commercial use of the Simics simulator.
    Simics has been used to simulate a wide range of systems, from simple
    single-processor embedded boards to multiprocessor servers and heterogeneous
    telecom clusters, leading to an emphasis on scalability and flexibility.
    The most important features and implementation techniques for a high-performance
    full-system simulator will be described and the techniques to achieve
    high simulation performance will be discussed in detail. As the ability
    to efficiently model systems is critical for a full-system simulator,
    tools and best practices for creating such models will be described.
    It will be shown how full-system simulation plays a significant role
    in the development of complex electronic systems, from system definition
    through development to deployment.},
    affiliation = {Wind River, Finlandsgatan 52, SE-164 93 Kista, Sweden},
    booktitle = {Processor and System-on-Chip Simulation},
    isbn = {978-1-4419-6175-4},
    owner = {veilleux},
    timestamp = {2011.01.22},
    url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6175-4_3}

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