FlexDEF: Development Framework for Processor Architecture Implementation and Evaluation
Paper i proceeding, 2011
Designing a processor is a complex task that uses multiple and varied tools. The complete development cycle spans
software as well as hardware design and verification. More often than not, in spite of the close dependencies between hardware and software, there is no common platform for quick and accurate testing of these dependencies. Though such systems are often employed in industry, it is not common for end-to-end frameworks to be deployed in educational and research settings. We present the FlexCore Design Exploration Framework (FlexDEF), an end-to-end tool-chain used to develop the FlexCore processor and its accompanying cache system. The tool-chain is a
hierarchically linked system that spans the various development phases involved in design and verification. The processor system is intended to be a model, for use in research-oriented projects where both the software and hardware are in a constant state of flux. We discuss the complete framework and the advantages in each context. Finally, we summarize the developments and discuss the future of the FlexDEF tool-chain.