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Mentor's Catapult HLS enables Chips&Media to deliver deep learning hardware accelerator IP

Jan 15, 2019 -- Mentor®, a Siemens business, today announced that Chips&Media™ has successfully deployed Mentor’s Catapult™ HLS Platform to design and verify their c.WAVE computer vision IP for detecting objects in real-time, using a deep neural network (DNN) algorithm. Chips&Media is a leading provider of high-performance, high-quality video IP for system-on-chip (SoC) design that is widely deployed in markets such as automotive, surveillance, and consumer electronics.

To quickly provide differentiated machine learning IP to customers, Chips&Media needed to increase their productivity dramatically by reducing functional verification time, timing closure, customization, and final optimization so they could spend more time in research and development for their machine algorithms and architecture. To accomplish these goals, they shifted away from their traditional hand-coded register transfer level (RTL) flow and adopted the Catapult HLS Platform to code their algorithms and test benches using the C language. The HLS design and verification team cut their project time in half when compared to the team using an RTL flow on the same project.

“To address the challenges of acceleration for inference-targeted devices, we believe it is key to have a hardware architecture that is focused and highly optimized for power, performance, and area (PPA) using a deep neural network,” said Mickey Jeon, chief technical officer of Chips&Media. “HLS enabled us to do this extremely efficiently. Our project was an outstanding success, and we plan on deploying an HLS flow using Catapult on our next project.”

Characteristics of DNN-based computer vision processing include repetitive computations of multiply/add/accumulate operations, with massive data movement through neural network layers. The DNN is developed on a framework such as Caffe or TensorFlow™, and then the algorithm can be captured in a C model. Chips&Media refined this algorithmic C model into synthesizable C code and used the Catapult HLS Platform to rapidly explore various architectures and synthesize them into RTL to find the optimal solution for this type of design.

“In multiple application spaces where the market is rapidly changing, we are seeing adoption of Catapult HLS as the only way to achieve the kind of productivity required to succeed,” said Badru Agarwala, general manager of Digital Design and Implementation Solutions at Mentor. “We have been working closely with Chips&Media to ensure a smooth transition to HLS. It has resulted in enabling them to focus their expertise on algorithm/architecture design rather than low-level implementation and debug details, thereby delivering their ideas to market much more quickly.”

For further detail, refer to the detailed case study: Chips&Media: Design and Verification of Deep Learning Object Detection IP.

About Mentor’s Catapult HLS Platform

The Catapult HLS Platform empowers designers to use industry-standard ANSI C++ and SystemC to describe functional intent and move up to a more productive abstraction level. From these high-level descriptions, Catapult rapidly generates production-quality RTL. The Catapult Platform pairs synthesis with the power of formal C property checking to find bugs early at the C/C++/SystemC level and to comprehensively verify source code before synthesis. The highly interactive Catapult workflow provides full visibility and control of the synthesis process, enabling designers to rapidly converge upon the best implementation for PPA. Catapult’s advanced power optimizations also automatically provide significant reductions in dynamic power consumption.

About Mentor Graphics

Mentor Graphics Corporation, a Siemens business, is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services, and award-winning support for the world’s most successful electronic, semiconductor, and systems companies. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777. Web site:

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