Ambric®, Inc., a fabless semiconductor company shipping the world’s first teraOPS-class processor, announced that it has released aDesigner(TM), a software development tool suite for the Ambric Am2000(TM) family of highly scalable, massively parallel processor arrays (MPPAs). Ambric aDesigner is a comprehensive, easy-to-use tool suite that uses Ambric’s award-winning(a) structured object programming model (SOPM) to make software development practical for embedded application developers who need to harness the power of massively parallel processor-based systems. Ambric is a privately-held company headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., with funding from ComVentures, OVP Venture Partners, and Northwest Technology Ventures.
“We are very excited about our tool suite and the benefits it will provide users,” said Jay Eisenlohr, co-founder and executive vice president of marketing and business development, Ambric. “The programming of massively parallel devices has been the real problem in their widespread use to date. With our tools and the Am2000 family architecture, developers are no longer encumbered by the synchronization and multithreading problems that prevent compute-intensive embedded applications from running in real time. This really makes the design scalable and cuts development time dramatically.”
New Software Development Tools Make Programming Am2000 MPPAs Easy and Fast
A set of tools that is intuitive and easy to use is a key benefit for customers. The aDesigner integrated development environment (IDE) has a powerful graphical user interface (GUI) that serves as a cockpit for the user to program the Am2000 MPPA. The design creation, simulation, compilation, realization, and debugging tools, which are included in the tool suite, enable easy creation, verification, and real time execution of the objects that collectively form the complete design. The aDesigner IDE uses the widely deployed Eclipse framework, a mature, familiar platform to accelerate developers’ migration.
“Solving real time high definition video processing and digital cinema coding functions poses some unique programming challenges,” said Ari Presler, CEO of Silicon Imaging (www.siliconimaging.com/DigitalCinema). “Having an integrated tool suite that can simulate and execute the design in hardware eases development of new products and features for high resolution and high frame-rate imaging, which are critical to the broadcast and cinema production market.”
Ambric’s built-in simulator provides cycle-accurate behavior of the design. The compiler has a unique optimization capability that takes into account user-defined constraints at both the local and global levels. The realization tool enables mapping of the design on single or multiple devices. And the debugger enables bugs to be detected during design simulation and design execution in the real-time hardware system. Together these tools work seamlessly within aDesigner.
A deterministic and practical approach to system design and programming of embedded systems is another key benefit for users. This is attained through the Ambric SOPM, a patented technology that leverages over 20 years of research on programming massively parallel processors on single or multiple devices. The Am2000 family architecture was built around this model and therefore a tight coupling of the programming model and the architecture can be assured.
Conventional tools, looking for parallelism in large blocks of code, use heuristic, best-effort techniques to break the code into multiple threads. Developers targeting high-performance applications find that code executing on multiple threads does not meet their goals. Code frequently stutters, deadlocks, and is very hard to debug. In contrast, during system design, SOPM allows developers to describe well-defined relationships between software components, creating solutions that are robust enough to meet the challenges of real time execution. Using SOPM, customers are able to bring up and execute applications in weeks, as compared to months with conventional software tools.
“Having done evaluations of numerous software development tools in the embedded computing market, the quality of results and robustness of Ambric’s aDesigner tool suite is very obvious to us,” said Sriram Edupunganti, CEO, Everest Consultants Inc. (www.everestinc.com). “We performed rigorous tests on aDesigner before accepting it as a certified development platform for our massively parallel processor development.”
The aDesigner suite enables a deterministic approach to programming because data transfer and execution control are combined into a single mechanism that eliminates global timing closure issues. It also enables a very practical approach by providing the ability to directly map software objects onto processors on the chip. What you see in software is what you get on the Am2000 MPPA. There are no intermediate results to be back-annotated and no language database to be stored— just straightforward SOPM-based software code executing on the Am2000-based hardware.
Scalability that slashes software development time by one-third is yet another key benefit for users. Programming digital signal processors (DSPs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) is time consuming and error prone. With aDesigner, development time is slashed because hierarchical objects can be created and then reused to easily build complex objects in software and on the Am2000 MPPA. Also, these objects can be encapsulated and replicated on the same MPPA as well as across multiple MPPAs. Executing these objects then becomes a simple task because timing characteristics of the object are self-contained and there is no global timing closure issue to deal with.
“In network security and deep packet inspection we are always dealing with growing volumes of data,” said Peder Jungck, CTO, CloudShield Technologies Inc. (www.cloudshield.com). “Building IP service control and infrastructure protection solutions that meet these challenges in a timely manner requires us to have a development environment that is powerful yet flexible. With aDesigner it is easy to create, update, and extend Am2000 MPPA designs quickly. We expect Ambric’s tool suite to reduce development times significantly compared with traditional DSP programming methods.”
Availability and Pricing
The aDesigner software development tool suite is available today to qualified developers. General availability will be January 2008. List price starts at $1,495.00 U.S. For more information about aDesigner, contact Ambric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Ambric, Inc.
Ambric is a fabless semiconductor company that is shipping the world’s first teraOPS-class processor and tools that make massively parallel software programming practical for complex embedded systems. The company’s highly scalable, massively parallel processor arrays (MPPAs) deliver performance that is more than an order of magnitude greater than high-end DSPs. The price-performance exceeds that of FPGAs on complex applications while enabling faster, easier development in software. Ambric products help companies accelerate time-to-market for their solutions while slashing their system development costs. Established in 2003 and headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., Ambric has received funding from ComVentures, OVP Venture Partners, Northwest Technology Ventures, and private investors.
Ambric and the Ambric logo are registered trademarks, and Am2XXX and aDesigner are trademarks of Ambric, Inc.
(a) Ambric was given In-Stat’s 2006 Microprocessor Report Analysts’ Choice Award for Innovation in February 2007 for its Am2000 family architecture.