Fixed Virtual Platforms (FVP) are simulation models used by engineers for software development before the equipment is delivered. FVP are designed to emulate the work of a complete system, just as if it was physically connected to the programming environment. The simulation models are developed and tested along with Arm IP, providing very accurate and proven virtual prototypes for software development.

FVP operates at speeds comparable to real equipment and enables complete system simulations including processor, memory and peripherals. They are presented in the "Programmer view", which gives a comprehensive model designed to build and test software. The complete Arm system model represented by FVP is much more than just a set instruction simulator. Thanks to the processor, memory and other peripheral devices modeled in FVP, the user gets a real picture of how the software will work on a physical device. Fast models are accurate, realistic Arm IP models that can be built into a complete virtual platform. Virtual platforms are the perfect target for software development, enabling full visibility and control of the simulation, including profiling, debugging and tracking.

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Benefits of using Arm simulation models

Thanks to FVP, a team of software engineers can work on applications, firmware and early driver development far ahead of hardware availability. FVP installations are easily scalable and can remove dependency on hardware development goals and checking software. This is especially useful when engineers are developing code for new technologies, such as DynamIQ, Helium, SVE etc., where access to hardware platforms can be very limited. The main purpose of these models is to enable embedded software to be developped more efficiently, with fewer errors and in less time. Each platform model contains full documentation and details of used component models. The producer also provides a reference manual.

Features and advantages of FVP

  • Full system simulation
    Virtual platforms give an opportunity to start creating software for cores or operating systems based on Arm technology, without the need to connect a physical target. Thanks to the processor, memory and other peripheral devices modeled in FVP, it is possible to learn the operation of Arm IP from the perspective of a programmer.

  • Head Start software
    Thanks to Fixed Virtual Platforms, a team of software engineers can start programming the latest Arm core at the earliest possible stage, shortening the software development cycle.

  • Scalable and Automatable
    Script interfaces make Arm FVP easily automated and are the perfect choice for continuous integration needed during testing. Virtual prototypes are easier to scale and maintain than their hardware counterparts.

  • Fully Debuggable
    The Fast Models debugging interface enables a virtual connection to FVP, which is supported by many providers. This interface enables consistent debugging between hardware and software devices without changing debugging tools.

  • Configurable Core Count
    Allows users to configure the number of processors on the system - x1, x2 and x4.

  • Software Included
    Some FVPs contain compatible, ready-to-run software stacks for Android and Linux OS. Some FVPs are part of the System Guidance - Arm packages that provide documentation for SoC design as well as the reference software stack.

Fixed Virtual Platforms are available for Arm Keil MDK Professional and Arm Development Studio in the following versions:

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What's new in Fast Models?

  • Cortex-M55 models have been improved

  • Support for GCC 7.3 on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and RHEL 7

  • Generic Graphics Accelerator (GGA) now supports Android 9


Conclusion

Fixed Virtual Platforms is a helpful tool for engineers, allowing them to work more efficiently. FVPs support building projects without hardware and this feature can be very valuable, especially when working on new projects. This tool gives opportunity to save time spent on waiting for physical availability of processors and peripherals. Using FVP models enables company to become more competitive on the market, as it allows working with new technologies, such as DynamIQ, Helium, etc. The workflow is similar to working with real equipment and is supported by the same programming environment as with physical devices.

Fixed Virtual Platforms are available in MDK Professional and Arm Development Studio.

The free MDK Lite version also gives you the opportunity to test MDK Professional temporarily for 30 days. You can download it from the producer's website: https://www2.keil.com/mdk5 

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Grzegorz Cuber

Written by Grzegorz Cuber

FAE Computer Controls, inżynieria, zarządzanie, dystrybucja