CriticalBlue has unveiled Prism, an embedded multicore programming system that lets software engineers take existing sequential code and, without changing it, implement parallel structures and verify efficient and safe operation. Prism is an Eclipse plug-in that accepts either sequential or multi-threaded code, augmenting existing tool flows and is portable across various multicore processor platforms.
The starting input of the Prism based design flow can be existing sequential software or code that already includes threading constructs. Since no code changes are required to commence analysis, it is an ideal design system for software developers to learn about their existing software at the same time as understanding the nuances of programming in the multicore world. The flexibility of the tool permits an iterative development strategy where concurrency may be gradually added, thus accelerating an engineer's progress optimally through the many possible implementation options.
Prism augments existing compilers and IDEs with all the capability required for engineers to target their code effectively in a multicore environment. Once the user has decided upon the necessary code changes that deliver the required performance on the multicore architecture, Prism can be used to verify that the changes produce safe, efficient code. By including up-front verification, potential latent bugs due to data races and other common issues are eliminated early in the design process. Prism identifies dependencies between disparate code modules with obtuse, indirect communication paths, measuring their impact and checking for hard-to-debug race conditions.
Prism technology is based on dynamic tracing of the users' software execution, requiring an underlying simulation engine, or model, provided by the platform or a third party vendor. Additionally, Prism has been architected to allow new platforms, simulators, and models to be integrated with ease. The currently available version runs in user mode, while an initial OS capable version supporting Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Linux is being demoed.