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ASSET's Arium software debugger turbo charges ARM’s System Trace Macrocell

Tue, October 29, 2013
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Accelerating the tracking of software bugs through mountains of trace data back to their root causes shortens the development of multicore, multithreaded systems-on-a-chip (SoC) by months and delivers new products to market sooner. Enhancements to ASSET InterTech’s Arium hardware-assisted SourcePoint® debugger optimize the processing of ARM’s System Trace Macrocell (STM), which provides developers a system-level perspective of trace data.

The new Arium SourcePoint for ARM debugger includes a patent pending innovation with which a developer can overlay a system framework onto the SoC environment. This framework significantly speeds the tracking of bugs through trace data back to their sources. In addition, SourcePoint accelerates embedded STM trace processing to the point where its effects on system performance are negligible. The processing of individual trace statements can be reduced from milliseconds to microseconds.

“ARM’s STM is a real breakthrough for software engineers because it gives them a top-level view of the system with which they can much more effectively relate a bug back to its root cause in an individual software thread or hardware peripheral port,” said Larry Traylor, vice president at ASSET for Arium debug and trace tools. “With legacy trace methods, trace data would be gathered and presented to the engineer as a disordered whole without revealing the interrelatedness of individual trace strands. Figuratively, STM straddles the system’s many software threads and hardware ports rather than suffering from a limited point of view over just one core. As a result, STM lets engineers directly observe system state transitions and that’s huge with today’s complex SoCs.”

“SourcePoint is all about providing code visibility and the ability to easily configure STM components so the developer can understand why code isn’t working the way it should,” said Larry Osborn, ASSET’s Arium tools product manager. “Of course, the use cases for STM will vary with the features configured by each development team, but SourcePoint will help optimize the configuration process as well as speed up trace processing when STM is deployed.”

To serve the needs of different types of design teams working on a wide range of applications, two ASSET Arium hardware modules support the SourcePoint debugger. The cost-effective LC-500S is a run-control probe capable of configuring and accessing trace data, and storing it on-chip or on the target platform. Another hardware module, the LX-1000 Trace Port Analyzer, has two gigabytes of memory where trace results can be stored off-chip. Software and firmware engineers can thoroughly and effectively examine the trace results using the LX-1000 to identify the precise location of the cause of bugs. Analytical capabilities such as statistical tabulation and others are synchronized with SoucePoint’s line-by-line code display of trace results. 

Learn more about Arium Tools here.

eBook:  Debug and Trace using ARM® System Trace Macrocell | STM