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Design at the Electronic System-Level (ESL) tackles the increasing complexity of embedded systems by raising the level of abstraction in system specification and modeling. Aiming at an automated top-down synthesis flow, effective ESL design frameworks are needed in transforming and refining the highlevel design models until a satisfactory multi-processor system-on-chip (MPSoC) implementation is reached. In this paper, we provide an overview of the System-on-Chip Environment (SCE), a SpecC-based ESL framework for heterogeneous MPSoC design. Our SCE framework has been shown effective for its designer-controlled top-down refinement-based design methodology. After reviewing the SCE design flow, this paper highlights our recent extension of the SCE simulation engine to support multi-core parallel simulation for fast validation of large MPSoC designs. We demonstrate the benefits of the parallel simulation using a case study on a H.264 video decoder application.