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Mentor Graphics Introduces High-Level Synthesis Tool to Create High-Performance Subsystems from Pure ANSI C++   Featured
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June 12, 2006Mentor Graphics Corp. has expanded the Catapult product line with Catapult SL (System Level), the first high-level synthesis tool to automatically create high-performance multi-block subsystems from pure sequential ANSI C++. The Catapult SL tool supports complex hierarchical design, includes new technology that improves block-level performance and offers links to power analysis tools to help reduce power consumption by up to 30%.

Catapult SL moves beyond block-level synthesis to automatically create entire signal processing subsystems tuned to the design’s specific needs. A hierarchical design engine enables Catapult SL to coordinate the operations of multiple blocks within the subsystem and automatically synthesize appropriate inter-block channels and memory buffers, leading to performance levels not easily achieved with hardware C languages or block-level synthesis methodologies. Catapult SL also integrates carry-save adder, a design technique for streamlining computations and throughput to increase the performance of individual blocks. Carry-save adder functionality enables Catapult SL to create higher-performance hardware blocks while decreasing hardware size.

In contrast, high-level synthesis tools that input hardware languages like SystemC require designers to embed structural details in their source code. Manually inserting channels, memory buffers and interface timing not only requires more up-front design effort, it also effectively locks in a specific implementation and makes subsystem exploration impossible. After conducting this time-consuming process, designers must live with performance bottlenecks in the form of sub-optimal inter-block channel bandwidths and overbuilt memory buffers. While this manual approach to subsystem design works for some applications, Catapult SL offers an automated way to eliminate these bottlenecks and achieve aggressive performance and time to market goals for high-performance video and wireless designs.

The latest member of the Catapult family also adds automated power analysis capabilities. In customer usage, Catapult SL has demonstrated the ability to reduce power consumption by up to 30%. Push-button links to leading third-party power analysis tools make it easy for designers to create multiple subsystem implementations with Catapult SL. Designers can then quickly evaluate the different implementations to find the most power-efficient design. Catapult SL also links to leading formal equivalence checking tools to verify correctness between pure ANSI C++ descriptions and RTL implementations, and to leading simulators, allowing automated evaluation of tradeoffs in functionality, performance and area.

The initial member of the Catapult product family, Catapult C Synthesis, was the first to synthesize pure ANSI C++ to RTL. Pure ANSI C++ is devoid of hardware constructs, allowing the Catapult tools to create RTL for both ASIC and FPGA technologies. The Catapult tools’ incremental design methodology gives the designer visibility and control during the entire synthesis process, allowing for interactive design exploration at every transformation. Further, the Catapult tools’ patent-pending interface synthesis technology automates a tedious manual design task by targeting a number of standard and proprietary hardware interfaces. Finally, Catapult automatically generates SystemC transaction-level models (TLM) for high-speed simulation and system-level verification. As a result, designers can perform detailed “what-if” analysis on varying micro-architecture and interface scenarios and achieve fully optimized hardware designs. The Catapult tools’ RTL output can be synthesized into gates using industry-standard RTL synthesis products, enabling it to fit within a wide variety of tool flows.

Pricing and Availability

The Catapult SL tool is priced at $350,000, and is currently available in either term or perpetual licenses. Other members of the Catapult product family are priced starting at $140,000.

Go to the Mentor Graphics Corp. website for details.

Read more about
Mentor Graphics Corp.

Keywords: Mentor Graphics, Catapult SL, ANSI C++, DSP, digital signal processing, synthesys, SystemC, transaction level modeling, transaction-level modeling, TLM, EDA tools,
552/19325 6/12/2006 4731 630
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