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EETE NOV 2014

programmable logic Beyond programmability, full design observability at runtime By Julien Happich After the sucesful launch of two generations of ABAX general-purpose 3D programmable logic devices (3PLDs) based on its proprietary Spacetime programmable logic architecture, Tabula is nailing the verification challenges inherent to such ASIC-class designs with a new kind of tool uniquely tied to the architecture of its devices. Offered free of charge, integrated to version 3.0 of the company’s Stylus 3PLD design software, the so-called Design- Insight technology is said to deliver unprecedented levels of real-time device observability. The new tool is intricately tied to the Spacetime architecture as it relies on the ABAX’ dedicated configuration network which itself has access to every individual node of the design, able to write or read them separately and access data at 2GHz (on the company’s latest 22nm ABAX2P1 devices). This gives designers 100% observability over the transactions taking place at every user logic nodes. The beauty of this solution is that users can observe signals in a production design operating at full speed without the need for recompilation or predeclaration of target signals. “This isn’t another Chipscope”, said jokingly Tabula’s Sr. Vice President and CMO Alain Bismuth, referring to Xilinx’ embeddable logic tracing tools. “If we have to set up debug logic points, we know where we’ll have issues, right? We would fix them before we ship.” Typically in traditional FPGAs, 25 to 30% of user logic is destined to Quality-of-Service monitoring, explained Bismuth. With a technology such as DesignInsight, engineers could either reduce their die-size or have more logic available. Through the combination of a programmable trigger unit and a configurable 1.3Mb trace buffer, users can observe any signal at full speed simultaneously over a maximum of 256 nodes in the design. The trace buffer can then be connected to any 20 Electronic Engineering Times Europe November 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE NOV 2014
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