Back in March, Freescale announced their Vybrid solution featuring both a Cortex A5 processor and a Cortex M4 microcontroller, and they had prototypes running an unnamed virtual platform in order to speed up software development and possibly have the software ready at the same time as the silicon is. Always looking to learn more, I studied and wrote about virtual hardware platforms such as Cadence Virtual System Platform, Wind River Simics Virtual Platforms and the open source Imperas OVPsim simulator.
VWorks uploaded a demonstration of VLAB running a virtual platform for the Freescale Vybrid controller and showing how it can handle both ARM Cortex-A5 and Cortex-M4 cores.
This demo of VLAB 1.7.0 is pretty interesting and showcases:
- Dual (virtual) display control: one for Cortex A5, one for Cortex M4
- UART simulation
- List of peripherals and how it is possible to modify values of different ports
- Hardware registers
- Hardware breakpoints which can stop executing on both cores
- ARM Developer Studio 5 (DS 5) debugger integration
Virtual hardware platforms can accelerate embedded software and system development as they allow firmware and software engineers to:
- Start software early before hardware is available
- Find bugs faster with visibility and breakpoints (hardware breakpoint is not something you can do with the real hardware)
- Debug multicore design with synchronized visibility
- Avoid getting all the pressure because the hardware is ready and everybody is waiting for that d*mn software. 🙂