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A Practical Introduction to Hardware/Software Codesign

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This is a practical book for computer engineers who want to understand or implement hardware/software systems. It focuses on problems that require one to combine hardware design with software design – such problems can be solved with hardware/software codesign. When used properly, hardware/software codesign works better than hardware design or software design alone: it can improve the overall performance of digital systems, and it can shorten their design time.

Hardware/software codesign can help a designer to make trade-offs between the flexibility and the performance of a digital system. To achieve this, a designer needs to combine two radically different ways of design: the sequential way of decomposition in time, using software, with the parallel way of decomposition in space, using hardware.

This book assumes that you have a basic understanding of hardware that you are familiar with standard digital hardware components such as registers, logic gates, and components such as multiplexers and arithmetic operators. The book also assumes that you know how to write a program in C. These topics are usually covered in an introductory course on computer engineering or in a combination of courses on digital design and software engineering.

The book is suited for advanced undergraduate students and beginning graduate students. I believe the book will also be useful for researchers from other (noncomputer engineering) fields, who have a need for hardware/software codesign. For example, I often work with cryptographers who have no formal training in hardware design but still want to obtain dedicated architectures for highly specialized algorithms. In my experience, it is very rewarding to explain codesign ideas to a cryptographer (or any other domain expert, for that matter).
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