RACE

Increasingly, embedded systems designers tend to use Application Specific Instruction Set Processors (ASIPs) during the design of application specific systems. However, one of the design metrics of embedded systems is the time to market of a product, which includes the design time of an embedded processor, is an important consideration in the deployment of ASIPs. While the design time of an ASIP is very short compared to an ASIC it is longer than when using a general purpose processor. There exist a number of tools which expedite this design process, and they could be divided into two: first, tools that automatically generate HDL descriptions of the processor for both simulation and synthesis; and second, tools that generate instruction set simulators for the simulation of the hardware models. While the first one is useful to measure the critical path of the design, die area, etc. they are extremely slow for simulating real world software applications. At the same time, the instruction set simulators are fast for simulating real world software applications, but they fail to provide information so readily available from the HDL models. The framework presented in this paper, RACE, addresses this issue by integrating an automatic HDL generator with a well-known instruction set simulator. Therefore, embedded systems designers who use our RACE framework will have the benefits of both a fast instruction set simulation and rapid hardware synthesis at the same time.