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Native Simulation of MPSoC Using Hardware-Assisted Virtualization

Auteur(s) : H. Shen, M.M. Hamayun, F. Pétrot

Journal : IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems

Volume : 31

Issue : 7

Pages : 1074 - 1087

Doi : 10.1109/TCAD.2012.2187526

Integration of multiple heterogeneous processors into a single system-on-a-chip is a clear trend in embedded devices. Designing and verifying these devices requires high-speed and easy-to-build simulation platforms. Among the software simulation approaches, native simulation is a good candidate since the embedded software is executed natively on the host machine, and no instruction set simulator development effort is necessary. However, existing native simulation approaches are such that the simulated software shares the memory space of the modeled hardware modules and the host operating system, making impractical the support of legacy code running on the target platform. To overcome this issue seldom mentioned in the literature, we propose the addition of a transparent address space translation layer to separate the target address space from the host simulator one. For this, we exploit the hardware-assisted virtualization technology now available on most general-purpose processors. Experiments show that this solution does not degrade the native simulation speed, while keeping the ability to accomplish software performance evaluation.