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Tool Suite Extension Offers Certification Validation for Altera Nios II Soft Core Processors

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The LDRA tool suite offers independent verification support across the full development lifecycle from certification objectives of standards to requirements, code and target testing. It has now been expanded to target the Nios II soft core processors from Altera. It can thus be directly integrated with Altera’s Embedded Design Suite (EDS) for Nios II soft core processors. In the past, these processors lacked sufficient CPU and memory to be used in automotive, medical, industrial and avionics environments. However, with the advent of the Nios II family, entire chip sets can be replaced with an Altera FPGA, making the Nios cores suitable for applications that must be certified. LDRA’s integration ensures that standards such as DO-178B/C, MISRA and IEC 61508 can be verified and validated directly when using these soft core processors.

LDRA’s ability to provide bidirectional traceability from requirements through model, code and tests allows development teams to both validate programming standards and automate their certification process. To achieve integration, LDRA takes advantage of Nios II tool chain characteristics. Using the GNU GCC tool chain and Eclipse IDE to program the Nios II, developers can take advantage of soft core processors previously only available on ASICs with custom chip sets. LDRA leverages the host I/O capability of the GCC tool chain to create unit and system tests that transfer data back into the host processor seamlessly. Within the Eclipse environment, tests can be automated to load and execute, saving time during verification.

By using the LDRA tool suite, companies gain the validation tools necessary to ensure that a software application produced on a Nios II platform is certifiable. Since FPGA-based soft core processors achieve significant cost savings over custom hard core processors both in actual cost and the reduced amount of board design, the LDRA integration provides increased market opportunities for mission- and safety-critical developers wanting to take advantage of this Altera processor family.

LDRA, San Bruno, CA. (650) 583-8880. [www.ldra.com].