Freescale, CriticalBlue Team on Multicore Software Development

Freescale Semiconductor and CriticalBlue Limited have expanded their relationship with an alliance focused on streamlining embedded multicore software development for Freescale platforms. CriticalBlue’s Prism development environment will support a broader range of Freescale’s QorIQ and Power Architecture-based multicore products. In addition, the companies will co-develop tools, extensions and methods to help customers more easily migrate software developed for single core targets to multicore platforms, and to optimize parallel compute performance once the software has been migrated.

Many of Freescale’s QorIQ products include advanced accelerators capable of highly sophisticated communications packet processing. CriticalBlue will enhance its Prism toolset, enabling developers to fully leverage Freescale’s specialized QorIQ accelerators, while simultaneously optimizing the performance of on-chip cores.

The collaborative development program is expected to deliver highly productive tools engineered to help software developers identify and quickly quantify the benefits of more parallelization opportunities than ever before. The Prism solution will be enhanced to provide estimates of the impact of artifacts such as cache behavior, on-chip core pipelines and on-chip communication mechanisms; all of which are important when parallelizing software applications and can have a profound effect on end-product performance.

Prism is an award-winning Eclipse[TM]-based embedded multicore programming system that allows software engineers to easily assess and realize the full potential of multicore processors without significant change to their development flow. Prism analyzes the behavior of code running on hardware development boards, virtual machines or platform simulators. It allows engineers to take their existing sequential code, and before making any changes, explore and analyze opportunities for concurrency.

“With CriticalBlue’s development tools, our multicore processor customers can attain optimal compute power and quickly identify high-leverage spots in the code to optimize their designs,” said Tim Tumilty, director of Developer Tools Technology at Freescale Semiconductor. “By further collaborating with CriticalBlue, Freescale is committed to extending Prism development technology so our customers can more easily leverage the exceptional performance and energy efficiency that our embedded processors offer.”

CriticalBlue’s support for Freescale platforms will expand beyond the signature eight-core P4080 QorIQ processor to include additional QorIQ and Power Architecture products. Software developers will be able to migrate, optimize and verify their existing single-core software applications for Freescale existing and future multicore platforms within a wide set of vertical markets including automotive, industrial, communications, networking and multimedia.

“Freescale has a leadership position and an impressive array of single and multicore devices that are well accepted across many application domains. It is typical of a market leader like Freescale to be proactive in wanting to deliver the best possible software development capabilities to their customers,” said David Stewart, chief executive officer of CriticalBlue. “The Freescale multicore platforms have some extremely innovative architectural features, and the development program we are working on now will enable end users to more easily make best use of them.”

Availability
Prism tools for several Freescale products are available today. The enhanced versions of CriticalBlue tools are planned for availability starting in 2011.

The Core-level Platform Support Package (PSP) for Prism targeting Freescale’s QorIQ processors is offered at a suggested retail price of $400 (USD) per month with an annual subscription agreement. Download a 30-day evaluation copy of Prism for Power Architecture-based QorIQ platforms at www.criticalblue.com/prism/eval

About CriticalBlue
CriticalBlue is a pioneer of flexible, automated system design solutions that meet the increasing performance, power and cost demands associated with the delivery of advanced electronic products within today’s demanding design schedules. The increasing use of complex, multicore processor architectures has accelerated demand for CriticalBlue’s technology and expertise throughout all electronic industry sectors. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, with offices in San Jose, California, and Tokyo, Japan, the company has delivered multiple solutions for key aspects of embedded software design, including Prism, a multicore embedded software design environment, and Cascade, a software accelerator synthesis technology. The company is funded by European, U.S. Silicon Valley, Japanese venture capitalists and corporate investors.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world.