For the past six months I have not been doing much blogging at all, neither here nor on the Wind River blog. The reason is that I have been directing my writing energy into writing a text book about Simics together with Daniel Aarno at Intel. Last year, Daniel and I worked on an Intel Technology Journal issue on Simics. The ITJ issue was kind of a first step on the way to the book, collecting several articles about Simics usage at Intel and elsewhere. The book itself will be much more of a detailed description of Simics and how it works and why it works the way it works.
Why did we do the book? Because it was needed and we felt a need to have it. We have had lots of users asking for some kind of textbook to help them better understand how to use Simics and how to build their simulators. Not just a manual, but more of a book on concepts and design patterns and architecture. We have had universities ask for a textbook appropriate for courses involving Simics and Simics-style virtual platforms. The upcoming book is trying to address those needs, to give us a way to say “go read this” for many common questions asked about Simics.
What we have tried to capture in the book is all the things, big and small, that we have learned in our long experience building, selling, and using Simics. Over the years, Daniel and I have been in many customer meetings and discussions with users, explaining similar concepts and design issues over and over again. When you get the same question for the tenth time and you can whip out a slide and an answer almost without thinking, it is time to capture that knowledge in writing and make it available for users to find and read on their own accord.
Compared to writing manuals or FAQs, the textbook format is much more suitable for this kind of content. It allows for longer explanations and telling stories about what has worked and what has not worked in the past. We have also included a long list of references in the book, which we hope will lead the readers on to dig even deeper into the principles, mechanics, and history of virtual platforms and simulation technology. The oldest reference goes back to 1951, while the newest appeared earlier in 2014.
The book is currently in production with Morgan-Kaufmann publishers, and should come out before the end of 2014. In the meantime, I hope to be able to get back to more regular blogging.