Building ASIPs: The Mescal Methodology

Matthias Gries, Kurt Keutzer (editors), Springer Verlag, June 2005, ISBN: 0-387-26057-9

Back to Mescal book overview


"A switch to Application Specific Instruction Processors (ASIPs) from current ASIC Design is happening. Flexibility, product future proofing and the cost and complexity of deep submicron silicon design are the key contributors driving the change. The ability to offer software upgrades and keep products in the field longer is a business necessity. Designing and using ASIPs effectively is the new challenge. This book provides thoughts on the forces driving the change to ASIPs and provides insights into the necessary micro-architectural tradeoffs ASIP users must understand in order to evaluate their effectiveness in their application. Further, an intriguing software/hardware design approach is submitted for developers of ASIPs to consider. A detailed case study is employed to examine their programming language proposal which integrates an application component library. The target of this language case study is a Network Processor ASIP, the Intel(R) IXP1200. Although this is a first generation ASIP the power of the approach is intriguing. This research is necessary and of deep significance, and makes for a very interesting read."

Matthew Adiletta, Intel Fellow, Director Communication Processor Architecture, Intel.

"This book makes a powerful case for ASIPs as a key building block of the next discontinuity in chip design, but it isn't just theory. It details a tested methodology for building ASIPs and provides examples from commercial tools."

Richard Goering, Editorial Director, EDA, EE Times.

"The book provides a clear and validated design methodology, consisting of five main elements which are lucidly described and illustrated with great practical examples, to help designers quickly ascend the learning curve in becoming proficient with ASIP design."

Aurangzeb Khan, Corporate Vice President, Cadence Design Systems.

"The performance, size, and complexity of modern Graphic Processor Units (GPU) are increasing at an explosive rate. Today, the design and verification of an ASIP like NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 Ultra is a formidable task even using our best methodologies. It's a real concern that tomorrow's GPUs may very well exhaust the ability of most traditional development flows to keep up. This book takes a real step toward turning the art of complex chip design into a craft. It details a disciplined, scalable development process that will scale with ever increasing scope and complexity of modern devices. I would encourage ASIP designers and software developers to read and consider the strategies presented in this book."

Chris Malachowsky, Co-Founder/Fellow/Executive VP of Engineering, NVIDIA Corporation.

"In our technology business, major fundamental shifts occur once a decade. This new book describes the giant quake that's occurring in the world of electronics and semiconductors. Ready or not, the billions of consumers' lives are being changed by the pervasive use of heterogeneous embedded processors, known as ASIPs. The MESCAL group has looked into his crystal ball and sees clearly what companies must do to harness this disruptive technology. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to survive the coming processor revolution and its aftershocks."

Alan Naumann, CEO, CoWare, Inc.

"Simplifying and automating the design of complex programmable platforms represents one of the grand challenges of modern electronic design. Without a systematic, abstract, but practical set of tools, building blocks and methodologies, the design of complex systems-on-chip will become technically painful and economically unsustainable. MESCAL represents a comprehensive effort to weave together the threads of application-specific processors, abstract algorithm development and practical systems modeling into a useful methodology and tool environment. This research should be understood by leading practitioners looking towards the next decade of innovation in embedded electronics."

Chris Rowen, Founder and CEO, Tensilica, Inc.

"This book examines how to leverage the benefit of Moore's Law while addressing the associated design challenges. It provides a carefully balanced study of the practical use of ASIPs together with a forward looking exploration of the concept of programmable platforms. As a result this book will be a useful guide for architects, managers and engineers of complex systems. The systematic treatment of the ASIP design process with a focus on methodology makes this book unique and first of its kind."

Albert Wang, Co-Founder and CTO, Stretch, Inc.

"Methodologies are the key to design productivity and quality. This text is essential reading for those who want to maintain a competitive edge in system on chip design."

Neil Weste, Author of CMOS VLSI Design, Co-Founder of Radiata.

Back to Mescal book overview

UCB home - CAD Group home - Mescal home - M. Gries home