Platform-Based Design
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Platform-Based Design A paper by Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli EE 249, 11/5/2002 Presenter: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Platform-Based Design A paper by Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli EE 249, 11/5/2002 Presenter: Mel Tsai. Outline. The Goals of Design The Problem & Trends ASV’s Solution: Platform-based Design Why does it work? Other Definitions of “Platform” The System Platform Stack

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Platform-Based Design

A paper by


EE 249, 11/5/2002


Mel Tsai


  • The Goals of Design

  • The Problem & Trends

  • ASV’s Solution: Platform-based Design

    • Why does it work?

  • Other Definitions of “Platform”

  • The System Platform Stack

    • Architecture Platforms

    • Software (API) Platforms

  • Other Platforms

  • Conclusion

The goals of design
The Goals of Design

  • Minimize:

    • Development costs

    • Production time

  • While Maximizing:

    • Performance (i.e. speed, low power consumption)

    • Functionality (i.e. more features)

    • Production volume (i.e. more profit)

The problem
The Problem

  • Development & production costs are expensive

    • Chip geometries are shrinking – the billion-transistor-on-a-chip age.

    • Complex chips have long design cycles & difficult verification issues… There is a designer “productivity gap” that is exacerbated by short time-to-market.

    • High NRE costs: Mask sets & probe cards are becoming prohibitively expensive. ITRS predicts >$1M for 0.15 micron and smaller.

Some trends
Some Trends

  • Full-custom design is being replaced by “library-based” design

    • Trend towards design at higher levels of abstraction

    • Trend towards hardware re-use, in both space and time

  • Short TTM requires architectures that can respond to late specification changes

    • Trend towards architectures with HW or SW programmability

  • Fewer design starts

    • Trend towards higher-volume production of fewer chips

Asv s solution platform based design
ASV’s Solution: Platform-based Design

  • Basic idea:

    • Goal is to hide the details of a design through a layered system of abstractions.

    • Identify the most natural and important layers of abstraction, and call them platforms.

      • Application Programming Interface (API) platform

      • Architecture platform

      • Silicon implementation platform

  • Design by successively refininga platform instance until it becomes an instance of a subsequent (lower) platform.

Why does it work



Silicon Implementation

Silicon Implementation

Why does it work?

  • Design time & cost are minimized:

    • Design-space at each layer is restricted because underlying layers are abstracted-away. Hence, the design of each platform instance is more manageable.

    • Each layer can be (mostly) designed independently of the others, eliminating the need for complete design-loop iterations when things go wrong.

    • Hardware and/or software components can be re-used if they can be folded into a platform and abstracted properly.

Other platform definitions
Other “Platform” Definitions

  • Many overlapping & outdated definitions in the hardwarecontext:

    • A flexible integrated circuit that is customized via programming

    • A family of chips, based on the same microprocessor, that support various applications with different performance requirements

    • A family of architectures that all support the same characteristic abstraction, i.e. the “PC platform”

    • A family of architectures that satisfy a set of architectural constraints imposed to allow the re-use of hardware and software components.

The system platform stack
The System-Platform Stack

Application Space

  • System-Platform Stack: the “sandwich” consisting of the API platform and the Architecture platform.

  • ASV’s Platform-based design is a “meet-in-the-middle” approach

    • It is top-down because constraints and functionality propagate to each lower platform instance

    • It is bottom-up because both the characteristics and performance of the lower levels must be exported to the upper platform

Application Instance

Platform Specification

API Platform



Platform Design-Space Exploration

Architecture Instance

Architecture Space

Architecture platform
Architecture Platform

  • In this approach, the architecture platform should support architectures that are “mainly geared towards optimizing design-time.”

  • This implies an approach based on a family of similar micro-architectures, i.e. programmable architectures, that can be extended or reduced for a range of different applications.

  • There is a trade-off between flexibility of the architecture platform and design-time.

    • Fewer constraints on the platform provide better support for applications & optimization, but constrained architectures have fewer parameters and are easier to assemble & verify.

Software api platform
Software (API) Platform

  • Software development is now 80% of the design of embedded systems

    • The re-use of application software is a must

  • The goal of the API platform is to present an abstracted interface to any proposed instance of the architecture platform.

  • The API platform is a software interface that wraps:

    • The processor & memory via an RTOS

    • Device drivers and I/O

    • The communication network

Other platform stacks
Other Platform Stacks

Architecture Platform

Silicon Implementation Platform Stack

Silicon Implementation Platform

Manufacturing Interface Platform Stack

Manufacturing Interface Platform


  • Platform-based design minimizes design time and cost by breaking the design process into manageable parts

    • The exploration space for each step is small

  • Due to the restricted design space, this approach may not produce the highest-performing designs

  • The validity of this approach depends on the ability to accurately abstract and estimate final performance at each level

    • Poor estimates and abstractions early-on can be magnified at the later stages