Imagination Technologies selects CoSy for next generation META™ compiler

ACE Press Release

London, UK 13 July, 2004

Imagination Technologies - a leader in SoC IP - has selected CoSy, the highly flexible, easily-targetable compiler development system from ACE Associated Compiler Experts, as the basis of the next generation compiler technology for the META multi-threaded processor core.

META is a unique multi-threaded DSP and real-time processor core family for modern digital applications. Positioned at the heart of digital devices these cores allow real-time response while supporting efficient multi-function operation.

Using true hardware multi-threading, the META family delivers the complex DSP and mathematical capabilities, real-time operation, general-purpose processing and low power consumption essential to current and future entertainment and communications products.

The addition of a CoSy compiler to the META toolset will enable Imagination Technologies to provide its partners and customers with a highly optimizing compiler. The next generation META compiler will further contribute to development of META based products with class-leading applications.

"CoSy has enabled us to develop a compiler that allows application developers to fully deploy the advanced features of the META architecture using ordinary C language and bring their own specific expertise to META in a highly efficient manner," says David McBrien, VP business development, Metagence. "We will be able to quickly create the best possible compiler for META. Through its modular design, CoSy has made compiler development highly efficient."

Metagence is developing a high value DSP compiler, using the CoSy compiler development framework, to support META. This next generation META compiler is planned for introduction from January 2005.

"Any dedicated, high-performance microprocessor architecture requires a matching high-performance compiler in order to enable cost effective application development," says Marco Roodzant, vice president of marketing and sales for ACE. "The real cost of a high-performance compiler lies in manpower. The CoSy environment enables construction of performance compilers in a highly efficient manner – reducing the time taken to generate a production quality compiler by an order of magnitude compared to traditional compiler technologies."

The next-generation META compiler features: ANSI C with DSP-C extensions, including inherent support for fixed point data types and arithmetic, circular pointers and memory spaces, with advanced optimizations developed specifically to utilize DSP features of the META architecture.

META is the first commercially available licensable IP core supporting hardware multi-threading and super-threading. It enables efficient support for concurrent real-time tasks utilizing cycle-by-cycle hardware scheduling, which dynamically allocates resources, in conjunction with the patented Automatic MIPS Allocation (AMA) system to control thread execution rates.

The SoC-ready META IP addresses the latency problem found in other shared memory architectures, resulting in a fully coherent system. When one thread stalls another can execute, which enables the maximum usage of on-chip resources.

META unifies RISC and DSP functions in a common real-time environment on a modular and configurable basis. Since all threads have the same base architecture, load balancing and capacity matching are not difficult problems. The multi-threaded architecture significantly eases the task of software integration, ultimately resulting in earlier end product availability.

As well as unique flexibility META also provides raw processing power. Hardware multi-threading and super-threading dramatically increase processing power compared with conventional single-threaded processing solutions

The META core has been licensed into a number of consumer product areas including digital radio, portable multimedia, home audio, digital TV, analogue TV, DVD, CD and flat panel applications. META licensees include Digital One, Frontier Silicon and Sharp.

META is supported with a wide portfolio of highly integrated, advanced tools which deliver both the comprehensive functionality and excellent reliability required to rapidly take a project from initial hardware testing through to real-time firmware development and on to high-level application development and product delivery.

"After successful evaluation we have come to the conclusion that CoSy's uniquely flexible and modular framework makes it an outstanding compiler development environment that allows us to harmonize future compiler and hardware developments," says Rob Isherwood, Vice President Core Software and Tools, Metagence. "It is critical to be able to quickly trial advanced features with a robust and effective compiler platform to achieve an optimal overall result."

META is available for licensing from Imagination Technologies' Metagence division.

About ACE

ACE Associated Compiler Experts bv (a wholly owned subsidiary of ACE Associated Computer Experts, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) is a world leader in compiler development tools. Its open CoSy compiler development system gives compiler developers the ability to achieve a similar leading edge position in the construction of better and faster optimizing compilers for architectures ranging from 4-bit microcontrollers to 24-bit DSPs and 256-bit VLIW processors. CoSy also accommodates a wide range of programming languages including C, DSP-C, C++, Fortran and Java. More information on ACE, its products and services can be obtained at

About Imagination

Technologies Imagination Technologies Group plc – a leader in SoC IP – develops, licenses and supplies market-leading graphics/video/display cores, real-time multi-threaded DSP/RISC processors and communication and broadcast technologies for the consumer entertainment and PC markets. It supplies both licensable IP (Intellectual Property) and related advanced development tools to leading semiconductor and consumer electronics companies worldwide. Imagination Technologies Group plc has its corporate headquarters in the United Kingdom and is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange (FTSE:IMG). See:

About Metagence

Metagence - a division of Imagination Technologies - produces unique multi-threaded programmable processor/DSP IP cores that allow real-time response while supporting efficient multi-function operation. Using true hardware multi-threading, the META family of processors delivers, in a unified architecture, general purpose processing, complex DSP and multimedia capabilities, real-time operation and low power consumption. These advanced capabilities make the META processor cores ideal for multi-function entertainment and communications products. See: