For Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) development, a predominant part of the design time is the simulation time. Performance evaluation and design space exploration of such systems in bit- and cycle-true fashion is becoming prohibitive. We propose a traffic generation (TG) model that provides a fast and effective Network-on-Chip (NoC) development and debugging environment. By capturing the type and the timestamp of communication events at the boundary of an IP core in a reference environment, the TG can subsequently emulate the core's communication behavior in different environments. Access patterns and resource contention in a system are dependent on the interconnect architecture, and our TG is designed to capture the resulting reactiveness. The regenerated traffic, which represents a realistic workload, can thus be used to undertake faster architectural exploration of interconnection alternatives, effectively decoupling simulation of IP cores and of interconnect fabrics. The results with the TG on an AMBA interconnect show a simulation time speedup above a factor of 2 over a complete system simulation, with close to 100% accuracy.
Design, Automation and Test in Europe, 2005, p. 780-785
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2005 Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exposition, 2005