Embedded Software Development on Virtual Platforms – Are We Ready For Industrial Deployment?

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Tuesday, 26 February, 2013
09:30 - 18:00
Session/Workshop: Class 06

Conference Registration
(Early-bird rate until 2013-01-28)

Dr. Adam Morawiec, ECSI, France
Dr. Frank Oppenheimer, OFFIS, Germany

Motivation:Embedded software development process and methodologies aims today mainly at simple single-core platforms and is detached from performance characteristics of the underlying hardware and hardware-dependent software. Due to power and performance constraints today’s most advanced platforms are dominated by multi-core and heterogeneous architectures. To efficiently exploit these platforms in the software development process we need to carefully consider the platform artefacts, performances, characteristics, features and strengths.

Current software development process is not efficient anymore because of:

  • Long overall development time of software starting late after the hardware platform is available
  • Difficult debugging, testing and validation of software on complex hardware platforms
  • Optimized usage of available resources (hardware, low-level software, …)
  • Cost of optimization, re-spins, bug fixing in both software and hardware

Virtual Platforms offer a viable and powerful solution to the above weaknesses.

Development and integration of embedded software executing on a hardware platform is increasingly becoming a key factor in product differentiations well as in its final market success or failure. Not only does the software development process determine the overall product functionality, it also significantly influences its entire development time. If the software is finished too late then the entire product can fail.

In addition software complexity is growing and consumes significant development and verification time. Add to this the trend towards multi-core architectures today, which makes them challenging to analyze and debug, and it should come as no surprise that recent studies show that software development effort already surpasses the effort spent on hardware for a typical 90nm SoC design. Furthermore, software becomes an integral part of any system verification concept, as only the combination of hardware and software allows verifying system functionality.

With an ever growing system complexity the industry needs to apply new concepts, paradigms and methods for embedded software development and hardware/software system validation that will be able to tackle with the problems of quality and correctness, providing significant gain in the design productivity and shorten time to market.

It is the belief that such a new way of development will be based on embedded software development on virtual platforms that offer a set of executable models, that can be used by software developers for design, structuring and optimization as well as verification and validation purposes. The concept of system virtualization has been around for almost a decade, during which time the industry started to learn how to build and apply these technologies. Topics of controversy have been the necessary accuracy vs. possible simulation performance, the need for a system-level IP eco system, and the move from tool-specific simulation paradigms towards public standards.

This workshop will cover the state-of-the-art of embedded software development on virtual platforms. This includes technologies and tool environments for building, executing and distributing virtual platforms. It will address existing and upcoming industry standards. Significant room will be given to cover user experience, both from those building virtual platforms, as well as from those deploying virtual platforms for embedded software development, or software-driven system validation.

Lessons learned, problems solved, remaining issues will be shared with the participants.


Target Audience:
  • Embedded software developers: application, hardware dependent software, and driver developers
  • Embedded system developers
  • Software verification engineers
  • Virtual platform developers



Adam Morawiec received his MSc degree in electronic system design in 1993 from the Silesian Technical University in Gliwice, Poland and his DEA (Diplome d'Etudes Approfondies) in 1996 and PhD in 2000 in Microelectronics at the TIMA Laboratory / Université Joseph Fourrier, Grenoble, France in the domain of verification and simulation performance methods.

He works for ECSI in the R&D project development and management in the domain of system design methods and standards, in setting up industry and research consortia, in organisation of advanced training and workshop in system design area. He also acted as an expert of the European Commission in the R&D project proposal evaluation and IST/ICT Work programmes definition. Since 2005 he is the director of ECSI.

He is an author of several scientific publications in the area of formal verification, formal models, simulation performance and system design. He is also an editor of two technical books published by Springer Publishers: “Platform Based Design at the Electronic System Level” and “High-Level Synthesis”.


Dr. Frank Oppenheimer received his Diploma in 1997 and 2005 his PhD in Computing Science from the Carl v.Ossietzky University Oldenburg where he worked as researcher at the Department of Computing Science until 2001.

In late 2001 he became Manager of the System Design Methodology Group and in 2008 Director in the R&D division Transportation at the OFFIS - Institute for Information Technology. Since 2005 he is the Chair of the LBSD thematic area of the FDL conference and is reviewing member of several other program committees. Frank's prime interests in research are hardware/software interface modelling, programming models for multicore/multiprocessor platforms and synthesis and design methods for heterogeneous, adaptive systems.

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