The capacity of integrated circuit, the heart of today’s electronic systems, has been increasing at exponential pace the last decades, mainly due to process technology that has led to constant reduction in the size of transistors. As result, very complex applications can now be implemented on small footprint and executed with maximal performance and lowest power. These developments, while positive, pose a huge pressure on embedded computing system designers.
Managing the high complexity of today’s applications requires a paradigm shift. Designs should be done at a very high level of abstraction and verification must start early in the design process. Also, the refinement of high-level blocks should insure that the verification performed a higher levels is still valid. Complexity can also be handling by building on existing designs and intellectual property (IP) instead of starting everything from scratch. The combination of high-level specification and IP-based design provide a powerful tool, the virtual prototyping, to design cost effective, efficient and low-power systems in affordable time. With virtual prototyping designers can build and verify their systems at a very high abstraction level, which can lead to a quick validation of algorithms and alternative design choices. With the help of the right tools, the refinement can be done automatically, targeting a particular system