MathWorks rolled out a series of new capabilities and products to address the more complex simulation needs of engineers building embedded systems that incorporate wireless, sensor processing and streaming media capabilities.
Specifically, MathWorks released a new stream of processing and RF modeling capabilities along with enhancements to code-generation for FPGA and embedded processor workflows. The new additions are intended to enable more advanced system analysis early on in development, help streamline algorithm design and implementation while providing smooth integration with commonly used tools and standards.
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"As signal processing becomes more integral to the design of many embedded systems, it puts stress on existing design flows," says Ken Karnofsky, MathWorks' senior strategist for signal processing applications. Typically, algorithm design starts in the R&D department, with digital engineers using MATLAB, but a different set of engineers associated with the RF and other analog capabilities using a completely separate set of tools. "Historically, engineers have used specific tools that don't connect very well to the tools that digital engineers are using to design the rest of the system," he explains. "It brings RF system modeling into the Simulink environment."
The new SimRF products lets system architects employ Simulink to design and verify complete wireless communication systems with true-to-form RF subsystem models and advanced circuit envelope and harmonic-balance methods. The tool set provides a large component library for modeling RF system architectures and it supports multi-frequency RF signals for diverse interference simulations. With the tool, communications system architects can perform realistic simulations early in the design phase to optimize and verify wireless systems with digital baseband, analog baseband and RF subsystems. "Digital engineers and RF engineers have been fine working in separate silos in the past, but they can't afford to do that now because they can end up with integration issues that can kill a project late in the design cycle," explains Karnofsky, citing the trend of multifunction devices such as smart phones or medical equipment that incorporate different wireless components that can cause interference. "SimRF represents RF components and models and simulates them in a way that's true to the way an RF engineer would look at them."
To help automate FPGA workflow tasks and enable faster design iterations, MathWorks took the wraps off Simulink HDL Coder 2.0, which adds critical path analysis and area-speed optimizations for automatic HDL code generation. The upgrade generates synthesizable Verilog and VHDL code from Simulink models, MATLAB code and Stateflow charts, aiding in a rapid FPGA prototyping workflow. An FPGA Workflow Advisor further facilitates the process, automating synthesis and implementation on Xilinx and Altera FPGAs.
In other steps to bolster signal processing system design, MathWorks code-generation products now automate targeting, real-time performance analysis and verification of C code for the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), Embedded Linux and the ARM Cortex-A8 processor. In addition, more than 250 algorithms have been employed in the Communications Blockset, Signal Processing Blockset and Video and Image Processing Blockset to efficiently process audio, video and other streaming data in MATLAB. These algorithms are available as System objects, a new technology aimed at facilitating algorithm design and reuse.