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Cadence Accelerates Development of Mobile, Automotive and Hyperscale Systems with the Helium Virtual and Hybrid Studio

The Helium Virtual and Hybrid Studio enables high-performance pre-silicon software validation in virtual and hybrid configurations for 5G, mobile, automotive, hyperscale and other markets

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDNS) today announced the Cadence® Helium Virtual and Hybrid Studio, a platform that accelerates the creation of virtual and hybrid prototypes of complex systems. The Helium Studio enables early software bring-up for hardware-software co-verification and co-debug, provides comprehensive support for platform assembly, enables the creation and debug of virtual models and offers a rich library of pre-built virtual models and hybrid adapters. Using the system, verification with a virtual or hybrid model of the SoC is not just orders of magnitude faster than verification with a pure RTL model, it enables early software bring-up before the RTL is available.

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(Graphic: Business Wire)

(Graphic: Business Wire)

Architected to natively integrate with the Cadence verification engines, including the Palladium Z2 Enterprise Emulation Platform, the Protium X2 Enterprise Prototyping Platform and Xcelium Logic Simulator, the new Helium Studio accelerates system development by verifying embedded software/firmware on pure virtual and hybrid configurations even when the RTL is not ready.

Engineers creating next-generation designs, including for mobile, automotive and hyperscale computing applications, need to validate software on a pre-silicon platform to ensure design success and to meet time-to-market schedules. The Helium Studio allows designers to build high-quality virtual and hybrid SoC models. Through the native integration of the runtime software engine with the Helium Studio, the Palladium Z2 platform and the Protium X2 platform, the Helium Studio provides software developers with a uniform debug experience from virtual model to RTL. The Helium Studio features:

  • Virtual studio: The system allows GUI-based platform assembly for quick and correct-by-construction platform creation, enabling early software bring-up. Once the platform is assembled, the virtual studio can be used to execute and debug the software stack and the hardware design.
  • Hybrid studio: The system allows designers to create hybrid configurations quickly using a rich library of hybrid adapters, transactors and smart memory that optimize communication channels for maximum throughput and are natively integrated in the Palladium and Protium platforms. The new gearshift technology allows users to hot-swap their software bring-up from virtual to RTL, providing high speed when it is needed and high accuracy on the RTL engines when necessary.
  • Virtual model library: The system offers a comprehensive virtual model library featuring the latest Arm® technology model portfolio, which includes support for Armv9-A, in which designers can access multiple reference and starter virtual and hybrid platforms that are ready to boot on the latest Linux and Android operating systems, accelerating bring-up time for new platforms.
  • Embedded software debug: The system offers uniform and comprehensive multi-core, multi-process debug of embedded software, allowing designers to have greater control and visibility into the software through use of a single debugger that works with software running on virtual platforms and RTL platforms simultaneously. The native integration of the software engine with the virtual and RTL runtime engines enables synchronized hardware-software debug.

“Validating embedded software concurrently with RTL and earlier in the development process is critical to ensuring the success of next-generation mobile, automotive and hyperscale SoC designs,” said Paul Cunningham, senior vice president and general manager of the System & Verification Group at Cadence. “Our new Helium Studio takes advantage of our best-in-class verification engines, including the Palladium and Protium dynamic duo, to enable fast software development and benchmarking for power and performance validation. This new system provides designers with a unified platform that accelerates overall verification throughput.”

The new Helium Virtual and Hybrid Studio is part of the broader Cadence verification full flow, which includes Palladium Z2 emulation, Protium X2 prototyping, Xcelium simulation, the JasperGold® Formal Verification Platform, and the vManager Verification Management Platform. The Cadence verification full flow delivers the highest verification throughput of bugs per dollar invested per day of schedule. The Helium Studio and verification full flow support the company’s Intelligent System Design strategy, enabling system innovation. For more information, please visit

Customer Endorsements

“The ability to boot a commercially available OS and run industry benchmarks for our latest GPUs and SoCs before silicon is available is critical for our first-pass success and time-to-market goals. Using the Cadence Helium Virtual and Hybrid Studio, which is natively integrated with the Palladium and Protium platforms, we are able to find and fix many software and RTL bugs pre-silicon. The order of magnitude throughput improvement we achieved with the hybrid platform allowed us to perform long-running tests in a pre-silicon environment. The Helium Studio’s unique gearshift technology lets us hot-swap software execution from virtual to RTL dynamically, giving us the software bring-up speed and the accuracy of RTL when needed. The Helium Studio’s embedded software debug capability enables uniform hardware-software co-debug whether running on software on a virtual core or RTL core.”

-Narendra Konda, senior director of Hardware Engineering at NVIDIA

“Our team is always looking for new ways to shift our software development and debug operations earlier so we can keep up with ever-accelerating time-to-market schedules for our 5G end-device solutions. Using the new Cadence Helium Virtual and Hybrid Studio, we were able to run physical-layer verification for our 5G design and to develop and debug our L2/L3-layer protocol software code two months earlier than our previous designs. We have found that the Helium Studio runs 50-100 times faster in hybrid mode, allowing for quick software code iteration. It natively integrates with the powerful Palladium system capabilities, enabling a smooth transition from virtual to hybrid to full RTL in emulator for hardware and software co-verification, allowing us to accelerate our design schedules by months.”

-Qing Lin, CTO, Cygnus

About Cadence

Cadence is a pivotal leader in electronic design, building upon more than 30 years of computational software expertise. The company applies its underlying Intelligent System Design strategy to deliver software, hardware and IP that turn design concepts into reality. Cadence customers are the world’s most innovative companies, delivering extraordinary electronic products from chips to boards to systems for the most dynamic market applications, including consumer, hyperscale computing, 5G communications, automotive, mobile, aerospace, industrial and healthcare. For seven years in a row, Fortune magazine has named Cadence one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Learn more at

© 2021 Cadence Design Systems, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Cadence, the Cadence logo and the other Cadence marks found at are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. Arm is a registered trademarks of Arm Limited (or its subsidiaries) in the US and/or elsewhere. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Category: Featured


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