Fujitsu Laboratories Speeds ARM Simulation by Factor of 100

Fujitsu Laboratories Limited has developed the world’s fastest simulation technology for systems using the ARM computing core, which is widely used in mobile phones and other electronic devices. Fujitsu’s simulation technology is able to faithfully reproduce hardware operations with cycle-for-cycle real-time accuracy. The technology will help reduce the development cycle for systems and devices using ARM cores and encourage the development of a greater diversity of ARM-based systems.

Fujitsu Laboratories’ simulation technology runs as fast as a JIT compiler, but with precise cycle-level simulations with low system overhead, based on a just-in-time compiler. This makes it possible for a standard PC environment to simulate an ARM multicore system with cycle-level fidelity at speeds greater than 100 MHz (a hundredfold speedup). Simulations run with a +/-5% margin of error relative to running on the hardware, for fast, faithful simulations.

Fujitsu Simulation Technology Features

  • JIT compiler technology with cycle-level precision
    In order for the simulator to run fast and with fidelity to the way the code would run on its native hardware, Fujitsu Laboratories developed a real-time calculation algorithm optimized for use in a JIT compiler.
  • Multicore-compatible technology
    There has been an extremely rapid adoption of multicore implementations of the ARM core, and this cycle-level simulation technology supports multiple cores. Fujitsu Laboratories’ cycle-precise JIT compiler technology can perform separate real-time calculations for each core, so it can perform load-distribution that levels the load of each core, running high-speed cycle-level simulations that do not suffer in performance even when dealing with multiple cores.

The ARM core is widely used in the CPUs of mobile phones and other electronic devices. These devices and systems have grown vastly more complex over the past ten years, while at the same time, competition pushes manufacturers to shorten their time to market for new products. The need to create easy-to-use, high-quality products under tight lead times has led to a demand for supporting technologies that will enable rapid, accurate development of new devices and systems.

When developing systems based on the ARM core, simulations are used for advance testing as a way to accelerate the development process, in order to determine whether systems operate as designed. This has created a need for a simulation technology that runs fast and with good fidelity to the hardware.

The just-in-time compiler is a widely used approach for fast simulations of the ARM core, also used in Java runtime engines. But the JIT compiler approach does not faithfully reproduce time-based information. When cycle-level simulations are called for, other simulation technologies that run hundreds of times slower than a JIT compiler have been the only option.

More info: Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.