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ARM and Synplicity Announce Marketing and Collaboration Agreement for Cortex-M1 Processor


Reference methodology expands market with Cortex-M1 processor implementation flow

Synplicity, Inc. [Nasdaq:(SYNP),], a leading supplier of FPGA synthesis software and ARM [(LSE: ARM); (Nasdaq: ARMHY)] have announced a joint marketing and collaboration agreement which includes a reference methodology for the recently launched ARM® Cortex™-M1 processor – the first ARM processor specifically designed for implementation in FPGA (see “ARM Extends Cortex Family with First Processor Optimized for FPGA” Mar. 19 2007).

The two companies have also agreed to work together to further support easy system integration of the Cortex-M1 processor using the Synplicity tool chain. With the signing of this marketing and collaboration agreement, ARM and Synplicity will work together to ensure that mutual customers can successfully implement the ARM processor across a range of FPGA device families. The ARM-Synplicity joint reference methodology ensures that a broad number of companies can easily and effectively leverage the ARM technology and Synplicity software.

Under this marketing and collaboration agreement Synplicity, a member of the ARM Connected Community, will put processes in place to ensure that customers have a seamless design flow for Cortex- M1 processors. Synplicity’s R&D team will use the Cortex-M1 processor as part of standard product validation procedures. Synplicity’s corporate engineering also has access to the Cortex-M1 processor IP to provide mutual customer support.

ARM worked closely with Synplicity during the development of the Cortex-M1 processor and used Synplicity’s industry-leading Synplify Pro synthesis software extensively during the development process.

“Synplicity’s involvement was a significant benefit during the development of the Cortex-M1 processor,” said Graham Budd, Executive VP and General Manager, Processor Division, ARM. “The ARM design team was keen to ensure the Cortex-M1 processor was optimized for multiple FPGA targets. Synplicity’s vendor independent flow enabled us to achieve this with minimum overhead, ensuring that the processor can be implemented on the widest possible range of FPGA devices.”

“ARM’s entry into the FPGA market is a watershed event by bringing an industry standard processor to FPGA design,” said Joe Gianelli, VP business development, Synplicity. “The intent of our long-term partnership with ARM is to increase the awareness and provide optimal implementation of ARM processors for FPGA design”

The ARM Cortex-M1 processor is the first ARM processor specifically designed for implementation on FPGA and extends the range of the ARM Cortex processor family, enabling OEMs to standardize around a common architecture across the performance spectrum. The processor implements a subset of the popular, high-density Thumb®-2 instruction set which enables both the processor and software footprint to meet the area budget of the smallest FPGA devices, while retaining compatibility with Thumb code for any ARM processor from the ARM7TDMI® processor upwards.

The Cortex-M1 processor is capable of more than 170 MHz, whilst occupying less than 15 percent area of popular low-cost FPGA devices. Despite being the smallest processor in the Cortex family, the Cortex-M1 processor can deliver 0.8 DMIPS/MHz.

Tools and Peripherals Support
The Cortex-M1 processor will be fully supported by the ARM RealView® Development Suite and RealView Microcontroller Development Kit. The RealView Development Suite includes a complete instruction set system model (ISSM) enabling developers to create and test applications for the Cortex-M1 processor out of the box. For improved integration into tool-flows, the Cortex-M1 processor is supported with an XML description adhering to the IP-XACT™ specification from The SPIRIT Consortium.

The ARM-Synplicity reference methodology for the Cortex-M1 processor includes capabilities for physical and logic synthesis design flows. Synplicity’s FPGA synthesis solutions help programmable logic designers rapidly achieve aggressive performance objectives. Synplicity’s family of FPGA synthesis solutions includes the Synplify software, Synplify Pro logic synthesis software and the Synplify Premier physical synthesis software. The Synplify Pro software is the industry’s most widely used FPGA synthesis solution, utilizing a true timing-driven approach to synthesis. The software delivers the performance needed to meet a design’s timing requirements and then optimizes the circuit for area, saving significantly on chip cost. The Synplify Premier solution builds upon Synplicity’s industry-leading synthesis technology and adds new graph-based physical synthesis and real-time, simulator-like visibility into operating FPGA devices. Graph-based physical synthesis provides rapid timing closure and a 5-20 percent timing improvement.

The reference methodology is available now from both companies.


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