Imperas and Andes collaborate to support RISC-V innovations

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Imperas Software, a developer of RISC-V simulation solutions, has announced that Andes Technology, a supplier of 32/64-bit RISC-V processor cores, has certified Imperas reference models.

Certification covers the complete range of Andes processor IPs with Andes Custom Extension (ACE) support and the AndesCore N25F-SE targeted at Functional Safely applications. Developers can now use the Imperas reference models to evaluate multicore design configuration options for SoC architecture exploration, including custom instructions and full design flow integration with leading EDA tool environments.


Imperas models are often used in a ‘software first’ design flow that incorporates virtual-platforms / virtual-prototypes, as SoC developers explore new hardware configuration options with the application software workload and full OS supports.

The use of virtual prototypes in a project for software development is usually a key piece of a company’s ‘shift-left’ strategy to accelerate schedules. Virtual prototypes shift schedules left by months because the models are available without the delays normally associated with implementations that are all dependent on the availability of a full RTL representation of the hardware.

Now developers will be able to explore custom instructions with the Imperas models of the Andes cores utilising the ACE framework.

The ability of virtual platforms to run the exact same binary code as the actual hardware also has advantages for complex system analysis and functional safety applications.

Functional safety applications demand a high standard of system and software quality which in turn has implications for the project planning, tools and methodology. Functional safety is not just about resolving traditional software bugs and errors but also subjecting the entire platform to exceptional situations and functional stress conditions. This may involve complex combinations of external factors and internal operational modes of the device.

Virtual platforms support both the analysis phase with control and visibility and provide automation with integration into systems for CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment). In functional safety applications, scenarios such as internal system failures and cascading event priorities can be simulated using virtual platforms with ease and repeatability to stress test the system that can be hard or event impracticable to achieve with physical prototypes.

“RISC-V represents the potential for innovation, and it is the implementation of great ideas that are really generating exceptional results,” said Dr. Charlie Su, President and CTO at Andes Technology. “To unlock such potentials, Andes provides the AndeSysC environment, an extensible and near-cycle accurate SystemC model library for all AndesCore. SoC architects can use it to construct a SystemC based virtual platform for performance evaluation of critical code segment and hardware/software co-optimization. ACE technology helps users implement custom functions and instructions, and it directly connects to the AndeSysC environment. Now with the close integration with the Imperas fast reference models and tools, design teams can embark on architecture exploration with complete application software for the next generation of domain specific devices with a seamless path to ACE implementation.”

“In any project the initial inspiration phase transitions to implementation. This is mirrored in the Imperas models for Andes cores that support both the architecture exploration and integration with Andes ACE for custom instructions,” added Simon Davidmann, CEO at Imperas Software. “Flexibility alone is insufficient for modern design flows as users depend on the established EDA tools and environments. The Imperas reference models cover the entire range of Andes cores and offer a frictionless path for users to explore the new design freedoms offered by the flexibility of RISC-V supported in all the major EDA environments.”