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Typical design flows supporting the software development for multiprocessor systems are based on a board support package and high-level programming interfaces. These software design flows fail to support critical design activities, such as design space exploration or software synthesis. One can observe, however, that design flows based on a formal model of computation can overcome these limitations. In this article, we analyze the major challenges in multiprocessor software development and present a taxonomy of software design flows based on this analysis. Afterwards, we focus on design flows based on the Kahn process network (KPN) model of computation and elaborate on corresponding design automation techniques. We argue that the productivity of software developers and the quality of designs could be considerably increased by making use of these techniques.
Date of Publication: November 2009