MPARM: Exploring the Multi-Processor SoC Design Space with SystemC
Journal of VLSI Signal Processing Systems for Signal, Image and Video Technology
Technology is making the integration of a large number of processors on the same silicon die technically feasible. These multi-processor systems-on-chip (MP-SoC) can provide a high degree of flexibility and represent the most efficient architectural solution for supporting multimedia applications, characterized by the request for highly parallel computation. As a consequence, tools for the simulation of these systems are needed for the design stage, with the distinctive requirement of
... speed, accuracy and capability to support design space exploration. We developed a complete simulation platform for a MP-SoC called MP-ARM, based on SystemC as modelling and simulation environment, and including models for processors, the AMBA bus compliant communication architecture, memory models and support for parallel programming. A fully operating linux version for embedded systems has been ported on this platform, and a cross-toolchain has been developed as well. Our MP simulation environment turns out to be a powerful tool for the MP-SOC design stage. As an example thereof, we use our tool to evaluate the impact on system performance of architectural parameters and of bus arbitration policies, showing that the effectiveness of a particular system configuration strongly depends on the application domain and the generated traffic profile.