Semiconductor leaders Analog Devices Inc., NEC Electronics Corporation, Tensilica, and Texas Instruments have joined the growing industry effort to address multi-processor debugging of embedded systems. To accomplish this improvement, the 22 member companies of the Nexus 5001(TM) Forum are driving adoption of the Nexus Standard.
The Nexus Standard (IEEE-ISTO Nexus 5001) is an embedded processor development tool interface that helps design engineers rapidly identify software- and hardware-level problems in real time. The Nexus 5001 standard is the only open debugging standard in the world and addresses the emerging multi-processor debugging problems of embedded systems with a common interface. By using a standard debug protocol available from multiple chip makers, companies can reduce time and expense when migrating between architectures. Adoption of the standard also helps reduce risk and improve overall quality and time to market.
“The ability to have real-time visibility and control of multiple embedded processor cores is only one area that the Nexus Forum has been striving for since its beginning,” said Ron Stence, long-time leader and proponent of the Nexus 5001 Forum and senior systems engineer for Freescale Semiconductor. “We are pleased to see the Forum continuing to gain momentum. Each of these new members has begun to make significant contributions to the Nexus Forum and Standard.”
“Analog Devices continuously improves the development and debug capability of it’s CrossCore Development Tools – including VisualDSP++, EZ-KIT Lite and EZ-Extenders — to support future members of its Blackfin family of processors. The Nexus 5001 Standard offers a performance and advanced feature set that enables the delivery of Trace and Real-Time data to and from a target system at a useable and sustainable rate,” said Derek Leadbetter, Director, DSP Development Tools.
Jim Trent, associate vice president and general manager of NEC Electronics America’s automotive strategic business unit stated, “NEC Electronics is pleased to become a Nexus 5001 Forum member. Our 32-bit V850(TM) CPU core will require more powerful and comprehensive development tools in the future. Having automotive standards helps enable more efficient support for the growing global automotive electronics market. The Nexus standardization of the tool interface will continue this momentum and accelerate the evolution and introduction of these features. We see an opportunity to expand the capability of the NEC Electronics tools for non-intrusive real-time trace and data-logging, and also enable similar enhancements for our third-party partners. The end result is better tools in the hands of our customers, which will lead to faster time to market and a reduction in their overall development investment.”
“Tensilica’s configurable processor cores are increasingly being used in larger and larger numbers per chip instead of logic blocks in complex SOC (system on chip) designs because they are faster to design, provide equivalent performance, and allow functions to be changed in firmware after the chip is made,” stated Steve Roddy, Tensilica’s vice president of marketing. “We joined the Nexus Forum standardization effort because it will enable the availability of an even broader array of world-class debugging tools needed by the growing number of multi-core SOC designers worldwide.”
Benefits of the Nexus 5001 Standard
Nexus allows for re-use of development tools and directly supports multi-core embedded processors to significantly reduce development time and resource investment for embedded systems. Establishing the Nexus Standard enables engineers and programmers to find and fix problems with their systems using emulators, debuggers, logic analyzers, hardware-in-the-loop and workstations to control embedded processors in real time.
Standardization also ensures that microprocessor systems can re-use diagnostic equipment across multiple architectures and design cycles. For example, the flexibility of a standard Nexus port allows an engineer to use the same toolset on each Nexus-enabled processor. Another major advantage is the multi-client interface capabilities of Nexus to conduct real-time multi-processor debug over a single Nexus interface.
About the Nexus 5001 Forum
The Nexus 5001 Forum membership spans the semiconductor, development tools and automotive electronics industries. Although the Forum initially focused on the stringent requirements of microprocessor debug tools for automotive powertrain applications, its overall goal is to enable the continued development of state-of-the-art, easy-to-use, high-performance microcontrollers.
Other Forum members include Ashling Microsystems Ltd.; Delphi Delco Electronics Systems; dSPACE GmbH; ETAS; First Silicon Solutions, Inc.; Ford Motor Company; Freescale Semiconductor; General Motors Corp.; Green Hills Software, Inc.; Hitex Development Tools; IAR Systems AB; Infineon Technologies; Lauterbach Datentecknick GmbH; Motorola, Inc.; Samtec, Inc.; STMicroelectronics; Visteon Corporation; and Wind River Systems, Inc.
The Nexus 5001 Forum is a program of the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO), which provides administrative and management support to industry consortia and other standards development forums. To download the IEEE-ISTO 5001(TM)-1999 specification via the Nexus 5001 Forum Web site. Membership in the Nexus 5001 Forum is open to any interested party and is not limited to particular vendors or particular interests.