Modeling Heterogeneous SoCs with SystemC: A Digital/MEMS Case Study

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"Modeling heterogeneous SoCs with SystemC: A digital/MEMS case study." A. Varma, Y. Afridi, A. Akturk, P. Klein, A. Hefner, and B. Jacob. Proc. International Conference on Compilers, Architectures, and Synthesis for Embedded Systems (CASES 2006), pp. 54-64. Seoul Korea, October 2006.



Designers of SoCs with non-digital components, such as analog or MEMS devices, can currently use high-level system design languages, such as SystemC, to model only the digital parts of a system. This is a significant limitation, making it difficult to perform key system design tasks — design space exploration, hardware-software co-design and system verification — at an early stage. This paper describes lumped analytical models of a class of complex non-digital devices — MEMS microhotplates — and presents techniques to integrate them into a SystemC simulation of a heterogeneous System-on-a-Chip (SoC). This approach makes the MEMS component behavior visible to a full-system simulation at higher levels, enabling realistic system design and testing. The contributions made in this work include the first SystemC models of a MEMS-based SoC, the first modeling of MEMS thermal behavior in SystemC, and a detailed case study of the application of these techniques to a real system. In addition, this work provides insights into how MEMS device-level design decisions can significantly impact system level behavior; it also describes how full-system modeling can help detect such phenomena and help to address detected problems early in the design flow.