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Glossary

This glossary describes some of the terms used in technical documents from ARM.

Advanced eXtensible Interface (AXI)

A bus protocol that supports separate address/control and data phases, unaligned data transfers using byte strobes, burst-based transactions with only start address issued, separate read and write data channels to enable low-cost DMA, ability to issue multiple outstanding addresses, out-of-order transaction completion, and easy addition of register stages to provide timing closure.

The AXI protocol also includes optional extensions to cover signaling for low-power operation.

AXI is targeted at high performance, high clock frequency system designs and includes a number of features that make it very suitable for high speed sub-micron interconnect.

Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture (AMBA)

A family of protocol specifications that describe a strategy for the interconnect. AMBA is the ARM open standard for on-chip buses. It is an on-chip bus specification that describes a strategy for the interconnection and management of functional blocks that make up a System-on-Chip (SoC). It aids in the development of embedded processors with one or more CPUs or signal processors and multiple peripherals. AMBA complements a reusable design methodology by defining a common backbone for SoC modules.

Advanced Peripheral Bus (APB)

A simpler bus protocol than AXI and AHB. It is designed for use with ancillary or general-purpose peripherals such as timers, interrupt controllers, UARTs, and I/O ports. Connection to the main system bus is through a system-to-peripheral bus bridge that helps to reduce system power consumption.

Aligned

A data item stored at an address that is divisible by the number of bytes that defines the data size is said to be aligned. Aligned words and halfwords have addresses that are divisible by four and two respectively. The terms word-aligned and halfword-aligned therefore stipulate addresses that are divisible by four and two respectively.

AMBA

See Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture.

Advanced Trace Bus (ATB)

A bus used by trace devices to share CoreSight capture resources.

APB

See Advanced Peripheral Bus.

ATB

See Advanced Trace Bus.

ATB bridge

A synchronous ATB bridge provides a register slice to facilitate timing closure through the addition of a pipeline stage. It also provides a unidirectional link between two synchronous ATB domains.

An asynchronous ATB bridge provides a unidirectional link between two ATB domains with asynchronous clocks. It is intended to support connection of components with ATB ports residing in different clock domains.

AXI

See Advanced eXtensible Interface.

AXI channel order and interfaces

The block diagram shows:

  • the order in which AXI channel signals are described

  • the master and slave interface conventions for AXI components.

AXI terminology

The following AXI terms are general. They apply to both masters and slaves:

Active read transaction

A transaction for which the read address has transferred, but the last read data has not yet transferred.

Active transfer

A transfer for which the xVALID[1] handshake has asserted, but for which xREADY has not yet asserted.

Active write transaction

A transaction for which the write address or leading write data has transferred, but the write response has not yet transferred.

Completed transfer

A transfer for which the xVALID/xREADY handshake is complete.

Payload

The non-handshake signals in a transfer.

Transaction

An entire burst of transfers, comprising an address, one or more data transfers and a response transfer (writes only).

Transmit

An initiator driving the payload and asserting the relevant xVALID signal.

Transfer

A single exchange of information. That is, with one xVALID/xREADY handshake.

The following AXI terms are master interface attributes. To obtain optimum performance, they must be specified for all components with an AXI master interface:

Combined issuing capability

The maximum number of active transactions that a master interface can generate. It is specified for master interfaces that use combined storage for active write and read transactions. If not specified then it is assumed to be equal to the sum of the write and read issuing capabilities.

Read ID capability

The maximum number of different ARID values that a master interface can generate for all active read transactions at any one time.

Read ID width

The number of bits in the ARID bus.

Read issuing capability

The maximum number of active read transactions that a master interface can generate.

Write ID capability

The maximum number of different AWID values that a master interface can generate for all active write transactions at any one time.

Write ID width

The number of bits in the AWID and WID buses.

Write interleave capability

The number of active write transactions for which the master interface is capable of transmitting data. This is counted from the earliest transaction.

Write issuing capability

The maximum number of active write transactions that a master interface can generate.

The following AXI terms are slave attributes. To obtain optimum performance, they must be specified for all components with an AXI slave:

Combined acceptance capability

The maximum number of active transactions that a slave interface can accept. It is specified for slave interfaces that use combined storage for active write and read transactions. If not specified then it is assumed to be equal to the sum of the write and read acceptance capabilities.

Read acceptance capability

The maximum number of active read transactions that a slave interface can accept.

Read data reordering depth

The number of active read transactions for which a slave interface can transmit data. This is counted from the earliest transaction.

Write acceptance capability

The maximum number of active write transactions that a slave interface can accept.

Write interleave depth

The number of active write transactions for which the slave interface can receive data. This is counted from the earliest transaction.

Beat

Alternative word for an individual transfer within a burst. For example, an INCR4 burst comprises four beats.

See Also Burst.

Burst

A group of transfers to consecutive addresses. Because the addresses are consecutive, there is no requirement to supply an address for any of the transfers after the first one. This increases the speed at which the group of transfers can occur. Bursts over AMBA are controlled using signals to indicate the length of the burst and how the addresses are incremented.

See Also Beat.

Byte lane strobe

A signal that is used for unaligned or mixed-endian data accesses to determine which byte lanes are active in a transfer. One bit of this signal corresponds to eight bits of the data bus.

Clock gating

Gating a clock signal for a macrocell with a control signal and using the modified clock that results to control the operating state of the macrocell.

Cross Trigger Interface (CTI)

Part of an Embedded Cross Trigger device. The CTI provides the interface between a processor/ETM and the CTM within an ECT.

Cross Trigger Matrix (CTM)

The CTM combines the trigger requests generated from CTIs and broadcasts them to all CTIs as channel triggers within an Embedded Cross Trigger device.

CTI

See Cross Trigger Interface.

CTM

See Cross Trigger Matrix.

CoreSight

The infrastructure for monitoring, tracing, and debugging a complete system on chip.

Debugger

A debugging system that includes a program, used to detect, locate, and correct software faults, together with custom hardware that supports software debugging.

Direct Memory Access (DMA)

An operation that accesses main memory directly, without the processor performing any accesses to the data concerned.

DMA

See Direct Memory Access.

Gray code

Continuous binary code in which only one bit changes for a change to the next state up or down.

Implementation-defined

The behavior is not architecturally defined, but is defined and documented by individual implementations.

Implementation-specific

The behavior is not architecturally defined, and does not have to be documented by individual implementations. Used when there are a number of implementation options available and the option chosen does not affect software compatibility.

Macrocell

A complex logic block with a defined interface and behavior. A typical VLSI system comprises several macrocells (such as a processor, an ETM, and a memory block) plus application-specific logic.

Processor

A processor is the circuitry in a computer system required to process data using the computer instructions. It is an abbreviation of microprocessor. A clock source, power supplies, and main memory are also required to create a minimum complete working computer system.

RealView ICE

A system for debugging embedded processor cores that uses a JTAG interface.

Reserved

A field in a control register or instruction format is reserved if the field is to be defined by the implementation, or produces Unpredictable results if the contents of the field are not zero. These fields are reserved for use in future extensions of the architecture or are implementation-specific. All reserved bits not used by the implementation must be written as 0 and read as 0.

SBO

See Should Be One.

SBZ

See Should Be Zero.

SBZP

See Should Be Zero or Preserved.

Scan chain

A scan chain is made up of serially-connected devices that implement boundary scan technology using a standard JTAG TAP interface. Each device contains at least one TAP controller containing shift registers that form the chain connected between TDI and TDO, through which test data is shifted. Processors can contain several shift registers to enable you to access selected parts of the device.

Should Be One (SBO)

Write as 1, or all 1s for bit fields, by software. Writing as 0 produces Unpredictable results.

Should Be Zero (SBZ)

Write as 0, or all 0s for bit fields, by software. Writing as 1 produces Unpredictable results.

Should Be Zero or Preserved (SBZP)

Write as 0, or all 0s for bit fields, by software, or preserved by writing the same value back that has been previously read from the same field on the same processor.

Trace port

A port on a device, such as a processor or ASIC, used to output trace information.

UNP

See Unpredictable.

Unpredictable

Means that the behavior of the STM cannot be relied on. Such conditions have not been validated. When applied to the programming of an event resource, only the output of that event resource is Unpredictable. Unpredictable behavior can affect the behavior of the entire system.



[1] The letter x in the signal name denotes an AXI channel as follows:

AW

Write address channel.

W

Write data channel.

B

Write response channel.

AR

Read address channel.

R

Read data channel.

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