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Rapid reaction

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Addressing a market which it believes could be worth up to $500million a year, Synopsys has expanded its Confirma rapid prototyping platform.

The development brings together technology acquired from Synplicity and CHIPit. According to the company, the development simplifies the implementation and deployment of rapid prototypes, allowing users to begin hardware assisted system validation and embedded software development sooner. Doug Amos, business development manager, solutions marketing, for Synopsys, said: “Rapid prototyping using fpgas adds an emulator type approach to the portfolio and forms part of the software to silicon verification strategy.” Noting that SoC validation is becoming a ‘complex challenge’, Amos said: “Building the ‘real thing’ with fpgas is a good way to check designs. But you need a physical layer to do this properly and you need the hardware on which to run. Designers, in the end, want to make sure the design works when it comes back from the fab.” The expanded Confirma platform is a suite of products, including fpga based prototyping systems and boards, interface and memory boards, and implementation and debug software. Amos said: “If you can get an fpga based prototype running at the right speed, you can do more real world testing. And you can’t do that with simulation or emulation.” Benefits of the Confirma platform include lower design costs and lower risk. “Getting your own system running reliably is a couple of months work,” Amos concluded, “and it makes more sense to buy the technology.”