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There is no better way to learn about the IEEE 1666-2011 SystemC standard than to use it - and the Accellera Systems Initiative has provided an easy way to do that with version 2.3.0 of its SystemC open-source "proof of concept" library. This free offering makes it possible to create SystemC models and it includes a simulation kernel that can execute them.
The new library is essentially the latest version of the free SystemC simulator that was offered by the Open SystemC Initiative (OSCI) before its merger with Accellera last year. "This is kind of a starting point for many folks," said David Black, chair of the Accellera Systems Initiative SystemC Language Working Group and Senior Member of Technical Staff at training firm Doulos. "It makes SystemC more widely available to a larger group of users."
The 2.3.0 library gives prospective users of the latest SystemC revision the opportunity to start experimenting with the new features right away, and Doulos has contributed a presentation to the kit to help explain the new features. IEEE 1666-2011 was approved in late 2011. One important new feature is the inclusion of the OSCI transaction-level modeling (TLM) standards into the SystemC Language Reference Manual. Consequently, with the 2.3.0 SystemC library, users can obtain both SystemC and OSCI TLM 2.0 by downloading one file.
Here are some other new features included in the 2.3.0 library:
While the library can be used to create and execute SystemC models, it is not a commercial simulation environment. As Black noted, commercial simulators may add such features as sophisticated debugging, performance improvements, bug fixes, ease of use, lint checks, and co-simulation with RTL, not to mention support.
The proof-of-concept library and simulator "is useful as a quick and dirty way to gain some insights into the new SystemC standard," said Stan Krolikoski, Accellera Systems Initiative secretary and distinguished engineer at Cadence. "However, it is insufficient for real-world application because SoC design and verification need debug, RTL integration, and support that can come only from commercial tools. It [library] is a good reference for very good standards work, but users do need more for robust SoC applications."
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