Accelerating RISC-V application software development from SoC concept to deployment

22-03-2023 | Imperas Software | Industrial

Imperas Software Ltd has announced a new three-way collaboration with MIPS and Ashling to support developers over all aspects of RISC-V software development for advanced processor applications. Based on the Imperas reference models for the MIPS eVocore P8700 RISC-V Multiprocessor and Ashling’s RiscFree SDK tools, this collaboration expands past the standard level of ecosystem support to allow developers across all design phases from pre-silicon to prototype devices to end users.

As developers examine the full design potential of MIPS’ new RISC-V flexible compute solutions, software developers must employ all available hardware resources and new capabilities. The key focus market segments include automotive, HPC and datacentre, and communications and networking. All have a common necessity for high-performance processors and the associated need for application-grade software.

With this collaboration, the fast Imperas Reference Models offer a programmer’s view of the hardware running full application-class workloads and operating systems. At the same time, the Ashling tools supply the toolchain support, including an IDE, compiler and software debugger. During initial SoC concept development, virtual platforms help with multicore architectural exploration. Key SoC project milestones are supported with OS porting, driver development, and applications-grade software development, often many months before silicon prototypes are available. Additionally, to help accelerate end device adoption and deployment, Fixed Platform Kits may be employed as virtual development boards for end users of new SoC devices.

The RISC-V reference models are configured as programmer’s view models of the MIPS eVocore P8700 for virtual platforms and software development. The new MIPS eVocore CPUs – the first MIPS CPUs based on the RISC-V instruction set architecture, supply a flexible foundation for high-performance heterogeneous computing. Having been employed as a golden reference model during the verification of the processor core, the reference models are now well-qualified as dependable reference for software development.

RiscFree is Ashling’s SDK, including an IDE, compiler, libraries, and debugger for software development and debug support (including debug & trace hardware probes). Since its introduction, Ashling’s RiscFree SDK has been steadily building market share within the embedded tools market and is particularly strong in the RISC-V market, where its ease of use, broad functionality, plug-in architecture and real-time trace.

“The eVocore P8700 Multiprocessor is our first RISC-V-based IP core,” said Itai Yarom, VP of sales and marketing at MIPS. “As an open standard ISA, RISC-V provides a foundation for a basic level of compatibility across technologies in the ecosystem. Together with Imperas and Ashling, we are going beyond that, enabling SoC designers and software developers to take advantage of the P8700’s advanced microarchitectural features using best-in-class models and tools.”

“We are excited to offer our customers target debug support for the Imperas golden reference models of the MIPS eVocore P8700 Multiprocessor,” said Hugh O’Keeffe, CEO of Ashling. “This collaboration between Ashling, MIPS, and Imperas enables developers to accelerate their RISC-V software development, testing, and debugging, ultimately leading to faster time-to-market for next-generation domain-specific devices.”

“It has often been said that silicon without software is just sand,” said Simon Davidmann, CEO at Imperas Software Ltd. “Simulation is now essential for software development for the leading multicore processors with advanced features such as the MIPS eVocore P8700 RISC-V Multiprocessor. Imperas reference models and Ashling tools provide support throughout the design cycle from multicore architectural exploration, OS porting, driver development through to virtual prototypes and FPKs as virtual development boards for end users.”

By Seb Springall