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Ptolemy Project Objectives

The focus of the Ptolemy project is on design methodology for complex real-time systems where a variety of design methodologies and implementation technologies must be combined. Design methodologies are encapsulated in one or more models of computation, while implementation technologies are implemented as synthesis tools. Applications that use more than one model of computation and/or more than one synthesis tool are said to be heterogeneous. Hardware/software co-design is one example of heterogeneous design.

The project aims to develop formal models for such heterogeneous systems, a software environment for the design of such systems, and synthesis technologies for implementation of such systems. In the latter category, we are concentrating on problems not already addressed well elsewhere, such as the synthesis of embedded software and the partitioning and scheduling of heterogeneous parallel systems.

The ambitious objectives of the Ptolemy Project include most aspects of designing signal processing and communications systems, ranging from designing and simulating algorithms to synthesizing hardware and software, parallelizing algorithms, and prototyping real-time systems. Research ideas developed in the project are implemented and tested in the Ptolemy software environment. The Ptolemy software environment is a system-level design framework that allows mixing models of computation and implementation languages. In designing digital signal processing and communications systems, often the best available design tools are domain specific. The tools must be able to interact. Ptolemy allows the interaction of diverse models of computation by using the object-oriented principles of polymorphism and information hiding. For example, using Ptolemy, a high-level dataflow model of a signal processing system can be connected to a hardware simulator that in turn may be connected to a discrete-event model of a communication network.

Since the Ptolemy Project began in 1990, numerous advances in design, simulation, and code generation have occurred. Recent results of the Ptolemy Project have included:

Specific recent enhancements of the Ptolemy software environment include A more complete list of current extensions under development is available.

The Ptolemy software environment has been used for a broad range of applications including signal processing, telecommunications, parallel processing, wireless communications, network design, radio astronomy, real-time systems, and hardware/software co-design. Ptolemy has also been used as a laboratory for signal processing and communications courses. Currently Ptolemy has hundreds of active users hundreds of sites in industry, academia, and government.

In August of 1993, the Ptolemy Project joined the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) Rapid Prototyping of Application-Specific Signal Processors (RASSP) Program as a Technology Base Developer.

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Last updated 11/08/96. Send comments to www@@ptolemy.eecs.berkeley.edu.
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