DSP-C emulation from ACE Associated Compiler Experts bv offers design flow breakthrough for new architectures

ACE Press Release

Orlando, Florida, USA 1 November, 1999

New CoSy® release provides significant time-to-market advantage for both DSP application and processor developers

ACE Associated Compiler Experts bv is now offering emulation capability for DSP-C applications. Without having access to the processor, simulator and compiler, DSP application developers will be able to functionally emulate their applications for the processor at hand using CoSy generated DSP-C emulators. Emulation can be done locally on a PC or workstation to validate that the application algorithms function as desired.

DSP processor developers benefit from this new CoSy release as well. While application developers can verify their applications earlier with respect to dynamic behavior as quantisation, by performing bit-true emulation even for virtual processors, the design flow is improved and shortened. This capability dramatically increases the opportunity for cost-effective experimentation with new application domains and plays an important role in the hardware/software co-design process.

How it works

The C programming language is increasingly used to program DSPs. The DSP-C language extension is particularly suited to compiler development for DSPs, offering fixed-point and saturation arithmetic, circular buffers, and memory spaces, unavailable with the standard C programming language. ACE has developed a set of language extensions and they have been submitted to the relevant working group of the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee for inclusion in a next official release of the ISO/ANSI C programming language.

When a new target architecture is being defined for a particular application, developers would like to start porting the application to the new architecture as early as possible. In the past, the only way to test an application at this early stage was to use a compiler and simulator. In this traditional design flow, the development time and completeness of the compiler and simulator is the critical factor and the simulator speed usually is a matter of concern.

With this latest CoSy release, compiler developers can generate bit-true DSP-C emulators for any architecture within minutes. These emulators allow the application developer to functionally test their application long before the chip and common tools are available. Thus, the emulation capability reduces overall development time and increases market opportunity. Also, the CoSy emulation capability works much faster than an instruction set simulator.

"With this new capability of CoSy, Philips Semiconductors (Eindhoven), The Netherlands) has been able to evaluate the interaction of architecture and firmware for the high-end audio application domain," said Reinier Beltman, department head Embedded DSPs, Philips Semiconductors. "Before the simulator and compiler for this new 24 bit implementation of this architecture were available, the application developers could already develop and test their algorithms."

"Philips Semiconductors was instrumental in the development of this new technology," said Marco Roodzant, vice president of marketing and sales for ACE. "CoSy's emulation capability will free engineers to experiment on a greater number of ideas. With early feedback, developers will learn whether a project is viable before significant resources are expended. We consider this a tremendous shift in design methodology which will affect the entire DSP industry."


Released in September '98, CoSy-DSP is a version of ACE's CoSy compiler development platform that is specifically optimized for the production of C compilers for DSP processors. It incorporates DSP-specific extensions to the C programming language, jointly developed by ACE and DSP experts to handle the fixed-point data types, divided memory spaces, dedicated register sets and circular buffers commonly used by DSPs. These language extensions have now been submitted to the relevant working group of the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee for inclusion in a next official release of the ISO/ANSI C programming language. ACE also co-ordinates the activities of a consortium of industrial users and academic institutions to further develop the DSP-C language. ACE's DSP-C language extension set is shipped standard as part of the DSP release of CoSy.

Pricing and Availability

CoSy is currently available for Solaris, HP-UX, Linux and Windows platforms. Pricing begins at $250,000.

ACE Associated Compiler Experts bv (a wholly owned subsidiary of ACE Associated Computer Experts bv, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a world leader in the production of compiler development tools. 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 optimizing 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.