ARM buys back virtual prototyping EDA tech with Carbon takeover

October 21, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
ARM is to step up its internal development-tool support and offer cycle-accurate virtual prototyping for complex SoCs through acquisition of Carbon Design Systems; ARM has acquired the product portfolio and other business assets of Carbon. Key IP in the transaction was sold by ARM to Carbon several years ago.

This combination of assets and expertise will ARM says, enhance its capability in system-on-chip (SoC) architectural exploration, system analysis and software bring-up. It will also enable earlier availability of cycle-accurate models for future ARM processors and ARM-based systems. The same models were developed following ARM's earlier transfer of its SoC Designer IP to Carbon.

"Early stage virtual prototyping of complex SoCs is now mandatory for leading silicon vendors, as demonstrated by the success of ARM Fast Models," said Hobson Bullman, general manager, development solutions group, ARM. "The integration of Carbon’s virtual prototyping products into the ARM portfolio will deliver access to ARM IP earlier in the design cycle. This builds on the current industry leading solutions to enable further design optimisation, time-to-market and cost-efficiency gains for our partners.”

Carbon has created a library of ARM processor and system models that can be extended to create cycle-accurate virtual prototypes of any new ARM-based SoC. The technology relies on RTL compilation, to ensure perfect functional and cycle accuracy. This is essential when evaluating target benchmark performance in the earliest stages of SoC design.

In future, Carbon products will be marketed as ARM Cycle Models and will remain available from ARM IP Exchange. ARM will also continue to offer Carbon’s solutions for model generation and SoC analysis. The company, which is based in Massachusetts, US, already works with the world’s leading semiconductor vendors, all of whom license ARM processor IP.