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SystemC AMS - Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the main reason for defining the SystemC AMS 2.0 standard?

The SystemC AMS 2.0 standard fulfills the need of the electronics industry to have a standardized system-level modeling language for mixed-signal applications based on SystemC. The AMS standard defines the execution semantics and language constructs for system-level design and modeling of embedded analog/mixed-signal systems at higher levels of abstraction, focusing on modeling accuracy, fidelity and simulation speed.

What is the main difference between Verilog-AMS and the SystemC AMS extensions?

For abstract mixed-signal modeling, SystemC AMS offers the efficient Timed Data Flow model of computation to describe continuous signals in a discrete-time manner. The use of data flow semantics make the simulation much faster than traditional real-number-modeling approaches (e.g. Verilog-AMS wreal), which use the inefficient discrete-event (digital) simulator. Timed Data Flow simulation in SystemC AMS applies smart temporal abstraction techniques which reduce the simulation overhead, resulting in a significant speed-up, which is essential for virtual prototyping. This technique is comparable with TLM, but is now introduced for AMS signals.

How do the SystemC AMS extensions fit into the spectrum with existing hardware description languages?

The SystemC AMS extensions focus on the system-level (ESL) and architecture modeling aspects for mixed-signal  applications, such as communcation, RF, automotive and sensor applications. By having AMS extensions for SystemC, users can now create mixed-signal virtual prototypes to make an executable description of the entire system in a C++ based manner, enabling a seamless integration of HW/SW architectures in SystemC, TLM, software in C, and mixed-signal functions described using the SystemC AMS extensions.

How can the user community interact with the SystemC AMS working group?

The SystemC community members can interact with the AMS working group by joining the AMS discussion forum. The forum can be used to discuss or ask questions on how to use the new AMS language. In case your company is member of Accellera Systems Initiative, you can become member of the SystemC AMS working group.

Why doesn't the SystemC AMS 2.0 standard contain any header files or other source files? Where can I get such files?

The SystemC AMS 2.0 standard only consists of the language reference manual and does not include an implementation. Commercial and open-source implementations are currently appearing on the market. One such implementation is described in a press release from the Fraunhofer Institut for Integrated Circuits.

Does Accellera Systems Initiative target the development of an open source proof-of-concept implementation?

The primary objective of Accellera Systems Initiative is to develop design automation (EDA) and intellectual property (IP) standards for use by the worldwide electronics industry. Accellera Systems Initiative will encourage and promote the availability of an open-source proof-of-concept implementation via its member organizations, as well as fully supported commercial offerings and solutions.

I found a simulator called "SystemC-AMS" on www.systemc-ams.org. Is this simulator compatible with the SystemC AMS 2.0 Standard?

The website www.systemc-ams.org is not owned or maintained by Accellera Systems Initiative, but by the former study group who explored AMS capabilities in SystemC some years ago. The information available on this website is completely independent from any Accellera Systems Initiative publication or release. Instead, one of the Accellera Systems Inititative members, Fraunhofer Institut for Integrated Circuits (IIS) department EAS, released a proof-of-concept implementation compliant with SystemC AMS 2.0 standard. You can download this proof-of-concept implementation.

Which industries are using the SystemC AMS extensions?

At the SystemC AMS Day 2011, semiconductor, automotive and EDA industry presented the practical usage of the SystemC AMS standard in a wide variety of applications. This event clearly showed the industry adoption of SystemC AMS. As part of the AMS 2.0 release, a quote sheet has been made to underline the growing industry appreciation and support for this standard.

Is the SystemC AMS language supported by commercial EDA tools?

Please contact your local EDA vendor representative whether SystemC AMS is supported. As SystemC AMS is built on top of SystemC, most SystemC IEEE Std 1666-2011 compatible simulators can cope with the SystemC AMS capabilities.

My local EDA vendor is not supporting SystemC AMS. Is there another way to use SystemC AMS?

The SystemC AMS open source proof-of-concept implementation is a class library in C++, and therefore can be compiled against a SystemC IEEE Std 1666-2011 compatible commercial simulator. In this way, your SystemC AMS models, as well as the SystemC AMS kernel resides in 'user space'. As commercial simulation environments often instrument the design with elements for tracing and simulation control, it is expected that some of these features are not supported for the AMS models.

I would like to learn more about the SystemC AMS extensions. Where can I find books, courses, or other training materials?

Recommended is to start reading the SystemC AMS user's guide, which is part of the bundle containing the SystemC AMS language reference manual, which can be downloaded here. The user's guide explains all fundamentals of the AMS language and how to use the extensive set of features for AMS behavioral modeling at the system level. The most recent tutoral, including the presentations as webcast and training examples, was given at DVCon 2014 and can be found here.

What are the differences between SystemC AMS 1.0 and AMS 2.0?

The SystemC AMS 2.0 standard introduces new language constructs to support a more dynamic and reactive behaviour when using the Timed Data Flow (TDF) modeling style. When using the new member fuctions, the TDF timestep, rate and delays can be changed during simulation. Furthermore, the language has been made compatible with the latest SystemC standard, IEEE Std 1666-2011. More information on the differences between AMS 1.0 and AMS 2.0 can be found in the Annex of the SystemC AMS 2.0 LRM.

Is there already a simulator supporting the SystemC AMS?

Please contact your local EDA vendor representative whether SystemC AMS is supported in their tooling. One of the Accellera Systems Initiative members, Fraunhofer Institut for Integrated Circuits (IIS) department EAS, released an open source proof-of-concept implementation compliant with the SystemC AMS 2.0 standard. They also offer COSIDE, the first Eclipse-based integrated design environment supporting SystemC and SystemC AMS.

Is there an updated user's guide for the SystemC AMS 2.0 standard?

The user's guide is part of the SystemC AMS 1.0 release and explains the basic concepts of SystemC AMS. The AMS working group members will continue to work on the user's guide update for AMS 2.0 to document all new capabilities of the SystemC AMS language, including examples and detailed explanations of the dynamic and reactive modeling features.

Is SystemC AMS an international standard?

SystemC AMS 2.0 is a standard of the Accellera Systems Initiative. Recently the standardization in the IEEE Standardization Association has started as part of the P1666.1 working group to develop it as international IEEE standard.

 

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