This article presents a novel approach to the high-level system verification problem based on a hybrid hardware/software virtual emulation tool. Unavailable components or sub-systems are physically replaced on a prototype board by FPGAs whose electrical behavior is driven by software simulations of high-level description models. Such a prototype can smoothly evolve towards the final system as soon as the unavailable parts or the components under manufacturing become available. The simultaneous use of prototyping techniques such as field-programmable circuit boards with software simulation significantly improve the usefulness of our framework. A low-cost verification environment, with multiprocessing and multilanguage capabilities currently in use at University of Bologna, is described.
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