The Multicore Association is forming a new working group called the Software-Hardware Interface for Multi-Many Core (SHIM). The new working group will provide a common interface to abstract the hardware properties that matter to multicore tools. The goal of SHIM is to speed the development of complex multicore and manycore applications.
The SHIM working group will define an architecture description standard useful for software design. SHIM will either directly or indirectly describe the processor cores, the inter-core communication channels (in support of message passing protocols such as the Multicore Association’s MCAPI), the memory system (including hierarchy, topology, coherency, memory size, latency), the network-on-chip (NoC) and routing protocol, and hardware virtualization features.
The SHIM standard will be flexible enough to allow vendor-specific, non-standard architectural information for customized tools. While the SHIM standard itself will be publicly available, the vendor-specific information can remain confidential between a processor vendor and its development tool partners.
The Multicore Association’s SHIM standard will be beneficial for many types of tools, including performance estimation, system configuration, and hardware modeling. In addition, the SHIM standard can be used with hardware modeling to support architecture exploration. An important goal for SHIM is to align with work underway in the Multicore Association’s Tools Infrastructure Working Group (TIWG).