ACE announces a DSP optimised release of its CoSy compiler development system

ACE Press Release

ACE announces a DSP optimised release of its CoSy compiler development system

Toronto, Canada 14 September, 1998

ACE Associated Compiler Experts bv (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) today announced a new release of its CoSy compiler development system that is specifically optimised for the production of C compilers for DSP processors.

"The high degree of instruction-level parallelism inherent in the latest DSP architectures poses considerable problems for compiler developers because of the wide design space and large number of code optimisation strategies involved," said ACE's vice president of marketing and sales Marco Roodzant. "Conventional compiler development platforms generate sequential-pass compilers that lack the flexibility to take these unique features of DSP into account. As a result, implementing even a single optimisation strategy requires the compiler developer to understand the entire compilation process from one end to the other."

The CoSy compiler development system takes an innovative approach to this problem by combining a high degree of modularity with the extensive use of generators. In CoSy the different optimisation algorithms are divided into separate re-usable modules, making it much easier for compiler developers to utilise them without having to understand all the complex details of the compilation process. These optimisers can be combined in a plug&play environment to evaluate the effects of running them in different sequences, or grouping them in different ways, to arrive at optimum solutions for particular language/target combinations.

CoSy allows compilers to be developed that give the programmer the option of adopting different optimisation strategies for different parts of the same application. For example, the majority of the control code in a DSP application could be optimised for code density in order to keep memory sizes small, while real-time DSP algorithm code could be optimised for speed of execution. The unique ability of CoSy to allow optimisation strategies to be tuned to the application is particularly important in the development of compilers for embedded DSP processors that are targeted at real-time applications - such as those used in digital mobile phones.

The ease with which this tuning can be done, and the speed with which new optimisations can be added, also allows CoSy to meet the short time-to-market requirements of these applications.

A further advantage of CoSy's modularity is that the compiler development platform can continuously be enriched with new optimisers, not only those developed by ACE, but also those developed by its customers and partners. As part of its strategy of continuous enhancement, ACE operates a reduced licence fee policy for academic institutions so that professional compiler developers can quickly take advantage of the latest developments in DSP algorithms, architectures and compiler technology.

The extensive use of generators is another aspect of CoSy that maximises flexibility and shortens the development time of DSP oriented compilers. DSP processors not only exhibit a wide range of basic architectures. Many of the latest embedded DSP cores can also be tuned to specific applications by user-defined changes to their architecture and instruction set. Generators within CoSy make this architecture dependent information available wherever it is needed in the compilation process - for example, in the code selector, scheduler and optimisers. As a result, the new CoSy DSP release makes it easy for compiler developers to support architectural features such as caches, divided memory spaces, and dedicated register sets - all of which appear frequently in DSP processors. Parameterised using a common architecture description language, these generators not only speed up compiler development, they also significantly reduce development and maintenance costs. CoSy also makes extensive use of generators to speed up other parts of the compiler development process, such as the generation of intermediate representations and optimisers.

A beta-test version of the new CoSy DSP release has already been used by Philips Semiconductors to develop a compiler for the company's latest R.E.A.L. DSP (Reconfigurable Embedded DSP Architecture Low-Power/Low-Cost) family of embedded DSP cores.

"CoSy DSP was successfully used to develop a robust and complete C-compiler for R.E.A.L. within a very short time frame," said Rob Woudsma, department head of Philips Semiconductors' Embedded System Technology Centre. "The open and flexible nature of the CoSy compiler platform is enabling us to develop new compiler optimisations for R.E.A.L. DSP that will allow our customers to smoothly migrate their applications from assembly level programming to C level," he added.

The development of CoSy DSP has also resulted in the definition of several DSP specific extensions to the ISO/ANSI C programming language. More details about these extensions can be found in the accompanying press release.

ACE Associated Compiler Experts bv (a wholly owned subsidiary of ACE Associated Computer Experts, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a world leader in the production of compiler development tools for professional compiler developers. Its open CoSy compiler development platform gives compiler developers the ability to achieve a similar leading edge position in the construction of better and faster optimising compilers for architectures ranging from 4-bit DSPs to 256-bit VLIW processors. CoSy also supports a wide range of programming languages including C, Fortran and Java.