Synopsys Signs Multiyear Collaboration Agreement with ARM

A little over two and a half years ago, or 0.4 light years in EDA time, Synopsys purchased Virage Logic. With the acquisition it obtained the ARC Risc processor family. Observers concluded that Synopsys was going to become a serious ARM competitor. Therefore, people concluded, ARM will not want to continue to be a Synopsys customer leaving open the possibility for a Synopsys competitor to obtain a valuable corporate customer.

Cadence tried, and so did other companies. During one of my discussions with Chi Foon I asked about the danger. His answer was very reassuring: a tempest in a tea pot that was being managed. And he has been proven correct.

We have not heard much about the ARC family, although I am told these popular RISC machines are still being used. But we heard a lot about both ARM and Synopsys working together at 32 and 20 nm processes.

Synopsys announced the extension of its software development tools offering for ARM processor-based systems with the VDK Family for ARMv8 Processors. Synopsys VDKs (Virtualizer Development Kits) are software development kits using virtual prototypes as the embedded target. Utilizing the VDK for ARMv8 processors, software teams can start development of software for ARMv8-based SoC (system-on-chip) designs up to 12 months prior to board availability, accelerating operating system bring-up as well as firmware, device driver and middleware development. The new VDK Family builds on the success of the VDK Family for ARMv7 Processors, which Synopsys announced last year.

Alongside its traditional 32-bit instruction set, ARMv8 introduced AArch64, a power-optimized 64-bit instruction set and execution state for future generations of mobile, consumer, networking and enterprise SoCs. Synopsys VDKs include support for AArch64, to accelerate the development and debug of software running on ARMv8 architecture compliant processors. This enables developers to optimize software for product performance and energy efficiency. The VDK Family for ARMv8 Processors comes pre-configured with reference virtual prototypes that incorporate models of ARMv8 processors such as the Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53, as well as big.LITTLE configurations and models of Synopsys DesignWare Interface IP. Synopsys VDKs also provide support for Linux software stacks as a starting point for developing product software.

The new VDKs include multicore software debug and analysis tools, reference software stacks and ARMv8 processor-based reference designs to provide an out-of-the-box software development platform. In addition, companies can customize these designs with the Virtualizer tool set to represent their specific ARMv8 SoCs. The VDKs also allow software engineers to efficiently develop software to support individual IP components, such as porting device drivers for DesignWare Interface IP, as well as to perform full software bring-up for the entire SoC.