Carnegie Mellon University

Don Thomas

Don Thomas

Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Address 5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Hardware-Software Codesign

Computer systems have grown from comparatively simple logic devices 50 years ago to the extremely complex systems of today. Current and future computer systems contain both hardware and software models at arbitrary points in the system views, and thus require that the design of the hardware and software parts be handled concurrently. Concurrent design (codesign) demands a means to model the whole system so that its performance can be analyzed through simulation and its alternate implementations can be considered through iterative synthesis. Since design decisions in one domain can affect decisions in the other, the need for a common model is critical.

Our research aims to develop codesign modeling techniques that allow systems to be described in traditional hardware and software languages, but co-execute in a simulation. Toward this end, the research must develop an understanding of the fundamental similarities and differences of hardware and software models, and then develop a basis for merging them for simulation. Hardware-software partitioning remains an important goal for systems described in this way as designers must consider repartitioning the hardware and software boundaries in response to new technologies and constraints.