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SystemC Community Newsletter: April 2011

SystemC AMS Day
"Industry Adoption of the SystemC AMS Standard"

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Dresden, Germany




SystemC Day 2011 Videos and Technical Presentations Now Online!

SystemC Day 2011 Presentations Now AvailableCo-located with the Design and Verification Conference 2011 on February 28, the second annual SystemC Day attracted over 100 users who came together to discuss the newest advancements in sustainable and flexible solutions for ESL design. Videos of the keynote and technical presentations from SystemC Day are now available:

  • OSCI Technical WG Update
    Eric Lish, OSCI Chairman
  • Keynote: "Navigating the SoC Era"
    Jim Hogan, Private Investor, Vista Ventures, LLC
  • The New IEEE 1666 SystemC Standard
    John Aynsley, Doulos Ltd., UK
  • Low-cost SystemC Acceleration on Multi-core GNU/Linux Platforms
    Cicerone Mihalache, Kotys LLC, USA
  • TLM Methodology to Enable Architecture Exploration via Co-simulation of SystemC Models with Legacy C/C++ Models
    Knute Lingaard (presenter) & Navaneet Kumar (author) FreeScale, USA/India
  • A Common System Memory Model for SoC Software and Architecture Models using a SystemC/TLM-2.0 Interface
    Ali Poursepanj, LSI, NCD System Architecture Group, USA

Register to view the SystemC Day videos and presentations.

View the OSCI Update video (no registration needed).

Check our YouTube Channel (under Favorites) for on-the-spot interviews from NASCUG and tutorial presenters from SystemC Day:


Working Group Update: Analog/Mixed-Signal (AMS)
The industry adoption of the SystemC AMS 1.0 Standard

Martin BarnasconiA year after the release of OSCI’s AMS 1.0 Standard in March 2010, the SystemC Analog/Mixed-signal (AMS) extensions continue to emerge in the semiconductor and system integrator industries. This newsletter update provides some insights on the adoption of SystemC AMS in these industries, and also gives an outlook on the standardization plans to further extend and advance the SystemC AMS extensions into other application domains.

Let’s first reflect back on the actual purpose of creating a SystemC AMS Standard. The primary goal was to have a standardized system-level modeling language to describe AMS behavior at higher levels of abstraction. The limitations of the traditional hardware description languages (which also have AMS extensions) to abstract analog signal representations and to efficiently model communication or computation propelled the need for an AMS system-level modeling language based on SystemC. The SystemC AMS extensions were developed as a natural extension to existing SystemC-based Electronic System-Level (ESL) design methodologies, allowing seamless integration of the digitally-oriented HW/SW architecture descriptions made in SystemC—often using transaction-level modeling (TLM)—together with the abstract AMS behavior.

The introduction of the Timed Data Flow (TDF) model of computation in SystemC AMS is one of the most compelling features, as it allows the abstraction of continuous-time behavior by using efficient discrete-time processing techniques using data flow semantics. It offers powerful multi-rate signal processing capabilities, where signal rates or time steps can be set for each module individually. Furthermore, it facilitates very efficient synchronization between the TDF processing and electrical continuous-time descriptions, as signal values are only passed at a fixed time grid; this is acceptable for system-level design. As such, the Timed Data Flow model of computation brings temporal abstraction of analog waveforms, enabling efficient interaction with transaction-level modeling applied in digital HW/SW systems.

These advanced abstraction methods for AMS finally allow inclusion of mixed-signal behavior in virtual prototypes. If the AMS behavior is properly modeled, there is no simulation speed penalty anymore, allowing use cases such as software development and architecture exploration, but now including the signal processing, calibration and control loops to the AMS or RF subsystems! The creation of these mixed-signal virtual prototypes enables holistic system-level design and verification of embedded heterogeneous systems, where digital HW/SW and AMS subsystems heavily interact and are very interdependent.

The interest from the semiconductor and system integrator industry to create mixed-signal virtual prototypes using SystemC and the AMS extensions is not a surprise: these companies face serious design challenges when integrating multi-domain systems. The digital HW/SW design is an important piece, but only a subsystem within the entire system. The interface to the outside (analog) world enforces interaction with AMS subsystems which no longer work autonomously, but often require digital steering and control for the most optimal performance. In addition, the modeling of the application context, such as the air interface of a wireless network—or car infrastructure in the case of automotive—is essential to define the overall system functionality and behavior. This requires an integral system-level modeling and simulation strategy where all these system elements can be combined easily, allowing instances from various domains at different levels of abstraction.

The power and versatility of SystemC and TLM along with the AMS extensions allow the creation of system-level models that can be executed in either an EDA/ESL or software development environment. This bridges the gap between the semiconductor IC provider and the system integrator or “set-maker,” where executable descriptions can be exchanged between these industries to define and validate the overall system functionality. At the upcoming SystemC AMS Day, these system integrators and semiconductors industries will present their applications and show the relevance and benefits of applying the SystemC AMS extensions for their design.

In addition to the semiconductor and system integrator industries, the academic world and research institutes have also embraced the SystemC AMS extensions. Renowned universities such as Université Pierre & Marie Curie (UPMC) and Vienna University of Technology, both active in OSCI, together with Delft University of Technology have recently established the Academic Connection Program. The objective of this program is to exchange knowledge for the introduction of the SystemC AMS standard into educational and teaching programs. These three universities have already adopted SystemC AMS into their curriculum and educational program and offer a supporting hand for other organizations who would like to do the same.

Meanwhile, the SystemC AMS standardization in the OSCI AMS Working Group (AMSWG) continues, addressing new requirements to extend the modeling capabilities of the SystemC AMS standard. More reactive and dynamic behavior of the Timed Data Flow (TDF) semantics is required especially in demanding application domains such as automotive. The AMSWG is currently detailing the use cases and requirements and will standardize new language extensions and constructs to support these industry needs. In addition, the AMSWG continues to promote the SystemC AMS standard. A special workshop entitled “Using the Power of the SystemC AMS Extensions” will be held at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) where everyone is encouraged to create some basic examples by using the SystemC AMS proof-of-concept implementation.

Interested in knowing more? Please visit the for more details or sign up on the AMS discussion forum!

Keep up-to-date with the AMS Working Group activities:

The SystemC AMS 1.0 Standard:

SystemC AMS Day:

DAC Workshop on Using the Power of the SystemC AMS Extensions:

The SystemC AMS Academic Connection Program:

Join the AMS discussion forum:


Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming SystemC Events

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May 12 -- SystemC AMS Day
"Industry adoption of the SystemC AMS standard"
Dresden, Germany

June 5 -- DAC Workshop: "Using the Power of the SystemC AMS Extensions"
San Diego, CA

June 7 -- NASCUG 16 Meeting at DAC 2011
San Diego, CA

July 15 -- SystemC Day Japan 2011
Shinyokohama, Japan



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Copyright 2011 Open SystemC Initiative