IEEE Approves Revised IEEE 1666™ “SystemC Language” Standard for Electronic System-Level Design, Adding Support for Transaction-level Modeling

New version to enable higher level, more efficient design of complex integrated circuits and system-on-chips

PISCATAWAY, N.J.--()--IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, today announced that the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board has approved a revised version of the IEEE 1666™ “Standard SystemC Language Reference Manual,” which specifies SystemC, the high-level design language used in the design and development of electronic systems. The new version of IEEE 1666 encompasses many enhancements, notably the support for transaction-level modeling (TLM), a critical approach to enable higher level and more efficient design of complex integrated circuits (ICs) and system-on-chips (SoCs).

It is the first revision to the standard since the original specification was published by the IEEE in 2005. The IEEE 1666 Working Group (WG) members worked closely together to refine the standard and gain consensus across the electronic design ecosystem on the necessary updates and extensions.

“The working group has achieved a major milestone with the update to the IEEE 1666 standard,” said Stan Krolikoski, chair of the IEEE SystemC Standardization Working Group. “The 2011 revision is an important one on many levels as it shows a sustained momentum for the language and the ability for it to be adapted to meet very practical and constantly changing requirements in IC and systems design.”

TLM is widely recognized as an effective method to move to a higher level of abstraction to improve designer productivity without sacrificing accuracy critical to design implementation. A major enhancement in the revised IEEE 1666 standard is the definition of a TLM interface to enable SystemC model interoperability and reuse at the transaction level, providing an essential electronic system-level framework for architecture analysis, software development, software performance analysis, and hardware verification.

The IEEE 1666 WG is collaborating with the Open SystemC Initiative (OSCI), who pioneered the definition of TLM-1 and TLM-2.0 interfaces. OSCI is an association dedicated to support and advance SystemC as an open industry standard for system-level modeling.

“Systems designers and architects are faced with complex challenges that are a hybrid between hardware and software,” said Judith Gorman, managing director, IEEE-SA. “The sheer complexity of today’s SoCs and the demand for IP reuse make the need for standardized interoperability, collaboration and exchange of information a necessity to promote innovation. With the addition of TLM to IEEE 1666, the standard now addresses the specific needs of those system and hardware designers, who increasingly must find more effective ways of designing chips at smaller and smaller technology nodes.”

Other new features in the latest version of IEEE 1666 include more efficient ways to perform process control and pause simulation, as well as to offer extensions to the SystemC data types and the verbosity level of reports. Technical enhancements to the language include the following additions and changes:

  • Event list objects
  • Hierarchically named events
  • Multiple writer policy for sc_signals
  • Asynchronous update requests for primitive channels
  • Binding operators for sc_port and sc_export are now virtual
  • Certain fixed-point constructors have been made explicit

The IEEE 1666-2011 standard is expected to be available by the end of the year.

IEEE 1666 is a Corporate Standard. The following companies are members of the IEEE 1666 WG and contributed to this work:

  • Accellera
  • Cadence Design Systems
  • Freescale Semiconductor
  • Intel
  • Mentor Graphics
  • NXP
  • OSCI
  • ST Microelectronics
  • Synopsys
  • Texas Instruments

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SystemC, OSCI, and Open SystemC Initiative are trademarks of the Open SystemC Initiative.


Shuang Yu, 732-981-3424
Marketing Manager

Release Summary

IEEE Approves Revised IEEE 1666™ “SystemC Language” Standard for Electronic System-Level Design, Adding Support for Transaction-level Modeling


Shuang Yu, 732-981-3424
Marketing Manager