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Which platform was the MACROprocessor developed on?

The prototype MACROprocessor architecture was developed using an Actel (now Microsemi) ProASICPlus FPGA device. An 8-bit version of our processor is currently being ported to the low power Microsemi IGLOO FPGA family, which will allow it to be used with the other Microsemi FPGAs: the IGLOO family, the ProASIC3 family and the SmartFusion and Fusion families.

How can I play with a MACROprocessor?

We have developed an 8-bit version of the MACROprocessor architecture and are porting it to a Microsemi IGLOO Nano FPGA, utilizing an IGLOO Nano Starter kit. The Kit contains an IGLOO Nano FPGA device of which our MACROprocessor uses less than 20% of its available Tiles.

Porting work is under way and availability of our MACROprocessor on the IGLOO Nano Starter kit will be announced soon.

ClearView Visual Firmware Analytics

How do you use the Firmware Analytics?

We use the Firmware Analytics to measure Firmware’s performance. Our ClearView Firmware Analyzer automatically measures the execution timing statistics for all of the Functions in a program.

The automatic measurements make it easier than ever to tweak custom Drivers for performance, and also make it very easy to prove that a subroutine or function exhibits the proper Bandwidth to support interfacing BW requirements.

The Visual Analytics look like a Logic Analyzer display, is this on purpose?

The visual representation represents the execution of Firmware. The different waveforms represent the different firmware Functions in a program.

The Function Analyzer display is supposed to look like a Logic Analyzer, so its use should be very familiar to Embedded Developers who often use Test equipment like Logical Analyzers and Oscilloscopes.

How does Firmware Analytics benefit Development Teams?

Development Teams can benefit from Firmware Analytics by using the ClearView measurement data to document the level of execution performance of their firmware. The Analytic information and statistics help Developer Teams to provide the best and most thorough documentation for every project.

Visual Programming

What level of developer is this for?

Our Visual Development Environment is designed for professional Embedded Firmware Developers, development teams and consultants.

How flexible is the flowchart editing?

Flowcharts can be drawn in any way you like. Top to bottom, left to right, bottom to top and right to left. The flowchart doesn’t even need a single direction; the symbols could even be drawn in a spiral. The drawing grid is optional and the color of both the inside and outline of the shape can be changed. Even the font can be changed.

What cores is this compatible with?

Currently, our Flowchart Programming and Firmware Analytics can be used with our MACROprocessor 8-bit implementation.

How does this compare to other Flowchart based languages?

Our flowchart language is a simple combination of assembly and C constructs. It maintains the power and control of assembly and the simplicity of basic C concepts. It’s based on very basic expressions, at most having 3 operands and allows for full control of instruction style.

Once Compound Instructions are understood, the Flowchart language is very easy to apply.

Is there any overhead to using the language?

Our Flowchart Programming Language requires no overhead in using the language, as like with using Assembly Language. In fact, it is possible to code an entire project in flowcharts with a 1-to-1 code output, and no overhead at all!

When using the full power of Compound Instructions, most output will look like simple C, with respect to simple expressions like data movement, math, and logic operations.

What are the benefits of flowchart programming?

One of the greatest benefits of our Flowchart programming is that each program is self-documenting with the document always being 100% correct. It allows for any new team members to quickly get a grasp on the existing code and is great for deciphering old code when trying to relearn it.

Flowchart programming is much faster to develop with as the syntax is simpler than assembly’s and it allows you to program with direct concepts instead of mnemonics and abbreviations. It cuts down on keystrokes.

Explain the Hierarchical programming again…?

Our Hierarchical programming feature is used to develop & document a program at a very high level of abstraction. High level STEP diagrams contains links to the actual real code that the symbol represents, so the high level STEP diagrams can be used to develop a program. The STEP diagrams can be developed and shared with Managers as well as Developers.

Virtual Hardware Models

What languages do you use for the Virtual Hardware Models?

We use two languages, but could use more. We use our Flowchart Programming and we use C# to develop our models. Any language that can generate a Windows Console program can be used.

How do Virtual Hardware Models benefit Software Test?

The Virtual Hardware Model system was developed to not only represent a hardware model, but to also provide a way to “test” firmware or perform software QA. Virtual Hardware Models represent a software version of a hardware function. Any hardware interaction that can be described in Firmware can be used for a Virtual Hardware Model.

The Virtual Hardware Model can be programmed to provide inputs or stimulus to the program under test.

The MACROprocessor Name

The MACROprocessor gets its name from its ability to perform “macro” operations using 2 to 3 data values, invoked by a single Compound Instruction, executed in single clock cycle – the base concept behind Compound Complex Instruction Set Computing or CCISC.

Executing Compound Instructions, the CCISC MACROprocessor directly accesses memory without registers, avoiding the multi-clock-cycle delay of “loading memory and storing memory” required by typical CISC/RISC Load & Store architectures. Our MACROprocessor design introduces and implements a more efficient type of processor architecture referred to as “Direct Use”.

The concepts of CCISC and Direct Use define our CCISC Processor Architecture IP. Because of the MACRO operation concepts of the CCISC Architecture, a CCISC processor is also referred to as a MACROprocessor.