Rapidly designing silicon

Celoxica has announced the DK1 design suite, software that enables a fundamentally new approach to the design of electronic hardware components.

‘Many of today’s manufacturers invest massive resources in designing custom silicon years before a product is released,’ said Jon Treanor, president & CEO of Celoxica. ‘Market conditions and consumer demand can easily change in that time and negatively impact the return on their investment.’

‘We aim to reduce the time it takes to produce new applications in hardware from years to weeks and days. DK1 will open up the silicon design industry by leveraging widely available software programming skills and targeting off-the-shelf silicon so that the barriers that prevent many companies from design innovation are torn down. We believe this could invigorate the industry by creating a new competitive landscape.’

Treanor continued: ‘Our high-level approach enables application specialists to take concepts directly to silicon. With products that leverage reconfigurable hardware such as Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) manufacturers can enter markets months ahead of their competitors and test customer demand in small volumes before committing millions of dollars to high-volume ASIC production. In addition, DK1 enables the transition of market-tested designs into the latter stages of a traditional ASIC design flow. Alternatively, manufacturers may wish to leverage reconfigurable chips to unlock the revenue potential of delivering hardware upgrades and enhancements to products via the Internet.’

The DK1 design suite represents a new approach to the rapid development of field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and system-on-chip (SoC) designs. With DK1, engineers use Handel-C, a high-level language based on ANSI C, to write complex algorithms targeted for migration to hardware. Unlike previous approaches, which require translation of C-like language code into intermediate hardware description languages (HDLs), DK1 provides migration from C code to hardware.

As a result, hardware design is no longer limited to HDL experts, but accessible to application specialists, including system architects and software engineers. Within an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) DK1 provides all the design tools – including a compiler, a simulator and a debugger – needed to design, validate, refine and implement designs based on the Handel-C high-level language.

DK1 developers can also take advantage of prototyping boards provided by Celoxica. Intended for testing Handel-C algorithms and code in hardware, the RC1000 series of evaluation boards are design-ready printed-circuit boards pre-loaded with Virtex series FPGAs from Xilinx.

The DK1 design suite runs on IBM PC compatible computers running Microsoft Windows 98, 2000 or NT4.0 and it supports FPGAs from Xilinx and Altera. Pricing for DK1 starts from US$25,000 per year for a 3-year license, not including maintenance. The RC1000 boards are available now and include Virtex series FPGAs from Xilinx.

For its part, Marconi has already signed a 10-seat licensing and partnership agreement with Celoxica Limited to take advantage of the newly released DK1 design suite.

On the web