Architecture Description Language (ADL)-driven software toolkit generation for architectural exploration of programmable SOCs

Prabhat Mishra, Aviral Shrivastava, Nikil Dutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Advances in semiconductor technology permit increasingly complex applications to be realized using programmable systems-on-chips (SOCs). Furthermore, shrinking time-to-market demands, coupled with the need for product versioning through software modification of SOC platforms, have led to a significant increase in the software content of these SOCs. However, designer productivity is greatly hampered by the lack of automated software generation tools for the exploration and evaluation of different architectural configurations. Traditional hardware-software codesign flows do not support effective exploration and customization of the embedded processors used in programmable SOCs. The inherently application-specific nature of embedded processors and the stringent area, power, and performance constraints in embedded systems design critically require a fast and automated architecture exploration methodology. Architecture description language (ADL)-Driven design space exploration and software toolkit generation strategies present a viable solution to this problem, providing a systematic mechanism for a top-down design and validation of complex systems. The heart of this approach lies in the ability to automatically generate a software toolkit that includes an architecture-sensitive compiler, a cycle-accurate simulator, assembler, debugger, and verification/validation tools. This article illustrates a software toolkit generation methodology using the EXPRESSION ADL. Our exploration studies demonstrate the need for and usefulness of this approach, using as an example the problem of compiler-in-the-loop design space exploration of reduced instruction-set embedded processor architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-658
Number of pages33
JournalACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Design
  • Languages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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