I have been saying for years, ever since I started working at VaST, the biggest barrier to adoption of virtual platform technology for what I like to call virtualized software development is the availability of models. If models do not already exist when they are needed there are two issues: it takes money to develop them but, probably more importantly, it takes time. Since a large part of the attraction of virtual platforms is that they can potentially be available before reference boards, chips, real cell-phones etc, anything that soaks up that time makes the approach less attractive. A month developing models is a month slip in the software development schedule.
There have been a number of attempts to address this problem, the most serious of which is Synopsys’s TLMCentral. When this started last year, it was focused on being a central location to find models that were commercially available either through the site, or, more often, elsewhere. There are now over 800 such models available.
This year they are adding a push to encourage model developers to upload open-source models. Obviously nobody will do this for something proprietary like a processor, nor something expensive to develop that therefore can easily be sold. But there is really little downside to sharing a model for a UART or a timer, and there is little point in every company developing their own generic timer model.
To encourage people to get started, Synopsys have uploaded 16 or so models that can be freely downloaded. Some have already been downloaded 30 times so there is definitely demand there. These are open-source models with no licensing fees.
And as a more direct form of encouragement there are several competitions to win an iPad2 (and I’m sure they’ll switch it to iPad3 if Apple announce a new one as some people expect).
- submit any model. One of the first 50 submitted will win (although confusingly the front page of TLMCentral says upload the 50th model and win; maybe you win another one for that too)
- be the person who uploads the most models by the end of March
- upload the model that gets the highest vote by end of April
- upload the model that gets the most downloads by the end of May
- or upload a model of a sensor interface such as accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer or proximity sensor (deadline February 17th)
Of course there are some conditions, the models need to be written in System-C TLM 2.0 being the main one.
More details about all of this, including the competitions, here.