C6Accel Advanced Users Guide

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C6Accel is still available for download, but is no longer being actively developed or maintained. Please consider other alternatives such as, Codec Engine IUNIVERSAL support, OpenCL or RCM.

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This arcticle is part of a collection of articles describing the C6Accel included in DaVinci/OMAPL/OMAP3 devices.  To navigate to the main page for the C6Accel click on the link above.

Chaining calls to kernels in a single API call to C6ACCEL

This is a feature of the C6ACCEL that allows the users to call multiple functions within the XDAIS algorithm using a single process call. This feature enables the application to save valuable overhead time introduced by making multiple process calls via the codec engine. However the use of this feature requires deeper understanding of the way the codec is instantiated from the application. Unlike the wrapper calls described in the previous section there are some memory management and alignment issues that the user is expected to know. Hence this can be seen as an advanced feature that the user can use at the cost of understanding the added complexity.

C6Accel chaining calls.JPG

Let us begin with the understanding of what goes on inside the the wrapper code to understand how process calls are made to the kernels within the XDAIS algorithm. Some of the key application tasks managed by the wrapper functions are described in the Design for Codec-application interface of C6Accel section that follows.

(Background) Design for the Codec-application interface of C6Accel

This design section gives the user a peek into how we designed our "C6Accel" codec (i.e. algorithm) to provide a large number of C6000 code kernels (taken from the many optimized libraries available for the C6000). To accomplish this, we extended the XDAIS algorithm interface so a call to the algorithm could identify which kernel should be run within the C6Accel codec, as well as to allow passing of the required arguments. Additionally, we wanted to provide a sense of the memory sharing issues faced in a DSP+ARM environment.

1. Wrapper Functions:

C6Accel provides, as part of its product, a library of wrapper functions.

As mentioned above, C6Accel provides an algorithm that bundles together a large number of kernels. The algorithm implements the XDAIS specified interface (where XDAIS means eXpress DSP Algorithm Interface Standard). Further, to allow easy interfacing between the ARM and DSP, it implements an extension of the XDAIS (called IUNIVERSAL) so that we can make use of the Codec Engine framework.

In other words, XDAIS provides a standardized way to create and delete instances of algorithms - but doesn't describe the functions or data types of an algorithm. IUNIVERSAL extends XDAIS by providing a description of the functions and arguments to be used by the algorithm; this 'extra' information allow the Codec Engine framework to 'know' what to pass from the ARM to DSP.

To make things easier for the basic user, the C6Accel team created a library of wrapper functions. These allow the user to simply call a kernel function and pass the required parameters. The wrapper function then 'constructs' the IUNIVERSAL version of the call to C6Accel, and thus encapsulating (i.e. making EZ'er) the FunctionID and arguments details discussed in parts #2 and #3 below. (Of course, to make use of the wrapper functions, you must link the appropriate ARM-side library into your project and include the associated header file.)

Note: When using the advanced features of C6Accel, though, you will need to use the IUNIVERSAL version of the C6Accel function call. Hence, the reason for discussing this background detail of how C6Accel is implemented.

2. Function IDs:

Each kernel within our XDAIS algorithm is assigned a unique function ID that the codec can recognize. The full list of function IDs can be seen in the header file iC6Accel_ti.h interface file residing in the base codec directory of C6ACCEL (~\ti\sdo\codecs\C6Accel\). Within each wrapper function the Function ID specific to the function gets passed as part of the input structure which is described in the next section. Format for the function IDs is given as
Fxn ID update.JPG

The function ID will have three fields

  • The first 8bit MSB field will identify the category of function being executed. (eg DSP, Image, Math, Medical)
  • The subsequent 8 bit field will be reserved for custom kernels that users might want to add to the XDAIS ALG. This field can be used as a vendor ID with the default vendor ID =0x01 reserved for TI.
  • The 16 bit LSB will be used to identify the kernel that is to be executed on the DSP.

3. Extended Input arguments:

The codec is built in a Codec Engine compliant IUNIVERSAL framework. The default input arguments for the IUniversal frame work limit the scope of passing all the parameter corresponding to a kernel. Hence in order to pass the user defined parameter set to the underlying functions we have extended the InArgs structure to the universal process call by defining an extended structure called IC6Accel_InArgs. This structure is quite similar to the inBufs, outBufs and inOutBufs in the IUniversal framework.

The extended input argument structure (IC6Accel_InArgs) enables the universal process call to extend the information carrying capacity of the inArgs. The extended structure would carry the information such as the number of functions being called in that particular API call and an array of function structures.

struct IC6ACCEL_InArgs{
    Int size;
    Int Num_fxns;
    FXN_struct fxn[MAX_FXN_CALLS];
} CODEC_InArgs;

Each function descriptor carries the function id of the function to be executed and Parameter pointer offset that point to the memory location pointing to the parameters structure for that function.

struct FXN_struct {
    XDAS_Int32 Fxn_ID;
    int Param_ptr_offset;
} FXN_struct;

Each function has its own Parameter structure defined in the C6ACCEL_ti.h interface header file.

struct fxn1_Params {
    XDAS_Int8 x_InArrID1;
    XDAS_Int8 y_InArrID2;
    XDAS_Int8 r_OutArrID1; 
    Int scalarParam1;
    Int scalarParam2;
} fxn1_params;
struct fxn2_Params {
    XDAS_Int8 x_InArrID1;
    XDAS_Int8 y_OutArrID1; 
    Int scalarParam1;
} fxn2_params;

The parameter pointer offset in each of the FXN_struct corresponding to the memory offset of the parameter structures from the start address of the contiguous memory allocated to pass the parameters of the functions being called from C6accel.These offsets need to be pointed to its appropriate parameter structures. All buffers, vectors to be passed to the functions are passed using the inBufs and the outBufs of the Universal process API calls. Each function parameter structure contains IDs that are responsible to identify the correspondence between the inBufs and outBufs being passed and the function argument. The InArrIDs and outArrIDs are defined to accomplish this association.

For Example: If we make a call to a function DSP_Fxn(*x,*y,*r) where x,y are input vectors and r is the output vector such that we pass x_InArrID1= INBUF7, y_InArrayID2=INBUF8 and r_OutArrayID1=OUTBUF4 then C6Accel XDAIS algorithm will interpret this as x vector can be found in inBuf[7], y vector can be found in inBuf[8] and r output vector has to be passed using outBuf[4].

In addition to these IDs the function parameters also carry scalars to be passed to the underlying kernel being called.

4. Memory Management:

The application code runs on the ARM while the codecs run on the DSP. Hence it is vital for the application to pass information to the codec which can be interpreted accurately by the DSP. The DSP and the ARM exchange information using a shared memory space in the DDR2 which is defined in the CMEM module. The ARM sees these locations as an virtual address through the MMU while the DSP sees it as the physical address. The codec engine performs address translation of the input, output buffers and its input/output arguments however, it does not translate the address for pointers being passed as a part of extended structures. This prevents application to directly pass pointers from ARM to DSP as part of Input arguments. Hence in order to pass multiple parameters we define the extended input Parameter set and allocate contiguous memory for these extended parameters. The Codec Engine invalidates and address translates input arguments of a UNIVERSAL_process() call based on the UNIVERSAL_InArgs.size field passed from the application. In C6accel we take advantage of this fact and ensure that all our input parameters are address translated by passing this size to be the size of the whole contiguous memory we allocate for the input arguments. (We have designed the CInArgs.size to be the first field in the extended structure to match the location of the .size field in the UNIVERSAL_InArgs structure.)

In addition to the memory translation issue, it is worth noting that DSP processes buffers and data aligned contiguously in memory while the ARM has the capability to work on fragmented buffers because of its MMU. Hence it is important to pass buffers and parameter information which are aligned contiguously in memory. DMAI API Buffer_create() or Codec Engine API Memory_alloc() [and Memory_contigalloc()]can be used to allocate contiguous memory buffers for function parameters from the CMEM module.

The wrapper library function calls hide these three complexities from the application developer and lets the application developer call into the kernels using API calls that look quiet similar to any function call made in C. However in order to call multiple functions within the codec, the application developer needs to handle these complexities.

Enabling Chaining of APIs in the ARM side application code

In the previous section we discussed the challenges of an SoC environment and discussed the C6Accel design to handle these issues. Now let us take a quick look at the implementation to chain API calls in C6Accel. In the application code, to call multiple functions in C6Accel, the application code would begin by reserving memory for the extended input arguments and the parameters to be passed by requesting contiguous memory from the CMEM module. Let us take the case where the application wishes to call two functions using a single API call. The memory allocation call would appear as:

IC6ACCEL_InArgs *CInArgs;
BASE_ADDR = (XDAS_Int8 *)Memory_contigalloc(MAX_FXN_CALLS * sizeof(FXN_struct) +
        sizeof(fxn1_params) + sizeof(fxn2_params) /* + ... */ + sizeof(fxnN_params) +
        sizeof(CInArgs->size) + sizeof(Num_fxns), BUFALIGN);

The CInArgs argument to be passed to C6Accel is initialized to this base address

          CInArgs = (IC6Accel_InArgs *)BASE_ADDR;

The application code will pass the FXN_ids of DSP kernels being called. It would also have to compute the Parameter_ptr_offsets from the BASE address for every active element of the array of FXN_struct. This can be done by computing the offset of each parameter structure from the BASE address. The parameters are then initialized. This process would appear as defined in the example code below:

// Initialize the extended InArgs structure
CInArgs->Num_fxns = 2;
CInArgs->size = sizeof(IC6Accel_InArgs);
// Set function Id and parameter pointers for first function call
CInArgs->fxn[0].ID = fxn1_ID;
CInArgs->fxn[0].Param_ptr_offset = sizeof(Num_fxn) + sizeof(size) + MAX_FXN_CALLS * sizeof(FXN_struct);
// Set function Id and parameter pointers for second function call
CInArgs->fxn[1].ID= fxn2_ID;
CInArgs->fxn[1].Param_ptr_offset = CInArgs->fxn[0].Param_ptr + sizeof(fxn1_params);
// Initialize pointers to function parameters
fp0 = (fxn1_param *)(BASE_ADDR + CInArgs->fxn[0].Param_ptr);
fp1 = (fxn2_param *)(BASE_ADDR + CInArgs->fxn[1].Param_ptr);
// Pass values to function1 parameters
fp0->InArray1_ID = INBUF0;
fp0->InArray2_ID = INBUF1;
fp0->OutArray1_ID = OUTBUF0;
fp0->scalarparam1 = INPUTHEIGHT;
fp0->scalarparam2 = INPUTWIDTH;
// Pass values to function2 parameters
fp1->InArray1_ID = INBUF2;
fp1->OutArray1_ID = OUTBUF1;
fp1->scalarparam1 = INPUTHEIGHT * INPUTWIDTH;

The Contiguous Memory view of this is depicted in the figure below:

Memcontig view.JPG

The codec engine invalidates and translates the address of input arguments InArgs of a iUniversal process call based on the iUniversal_InArgs.size passed from the application.In C6accel we take advantage of this fact and ensure that all our input parameters are address translated by passing this size to be the size of the whole contiguous memory we allocate for the input arguments. (We have designed the CInArgs.size to be the first field in the extended structure to match the location of the IUniversal_InArg.size in the iUniversal InArgs structure.)

CInArgs->size = InArg_Buf_size;

Once the address translation issue is addressed the application code can call into the codec using the universal_process call.

//Make universal process call to the codec 
status = UNIVERSAL_process(hUni, &inBufDesc, &outBufDesc, NULL,
        (UNIVERSAL_InArg *)&IC6ACCEL_InArgs, &UniOutArgs);

Note: Cache Invalidation of the input and output buffers on the ARM side should also be handled by the application

Adding a new kernel/library to C6Accel

Information to add a new user kernel and instructions to integrate into existing codec server is explained in this section

Users can add their own custom kernels to C6Accel source XDAIS algorithm that is provided with the package. A good starting point for a user to understand adding new kernels is the Design for the Codec-application interface of C6Accel section.

Adding new kernels to the C6Accel source XDAIS algorithm does not require any prior understanding of creating an XDAIS algorithm using the IUNIVERSAL interface. User can merely follow the set of instructions mentioned below and have their algorithm integrated into the existing codec.

Step 1. Add DSP kernel/Library to the source files

(a)Adding Kernel in source Add the source file for the custom DSP kernel to the $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/dsp/alg/src. For example refer to the complxtorealnimg in the above mentioned folder. Add the function definition to the C6accel.h file in the $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/dsp/alg/include file.

(b)Adding Kernel from a library To add a kernel from a library simply partially link the new library to the Archiver step in the Makefile found in $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/dsp/alg/pjt (or in the C6Accel.pjt if you are using CCS).


An example of doing this can be found the the C6Accel package. C6Accel links to a library called C64PLIBPLUS.lib(found under $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/dsp/libs) which contains additional DSP kernels that are not found in the standard C64P library offerings. This library is linked with the other libraries in the Makefile as follows

  LD_LIBS = -l"../../libs/dsplib64plus.lib" -l="../../libs/C64P_LIBPLUS.lib" -l="../../libs/fastrts64x.lib" -  l"../../libs/imglib2.l64P" -l"../../libs/IQmath_c64x+.lib" -l"../../libs/IQmath_RAM_c64x+.lib"

Step 2. Define a unique function ID for the kernels being added.

User must maintain consistency with the Function ID format defined in the file $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/C6Accel_alg/iC6Accel_ti.h. The XDAIS algorithm splits the XDAIS algorithm based on Vendor ID and further using the function classification ID. Within the XDAIS algorithm the function ID section the kernel is merely recognized using the last 16 bits of the function ID and hence the user is required to create an equivalent function ID in the file C6accel.h by simply masking the vendor and the function classification ID by 0x00. For eg.

Function Id for the DSP_complxtorealnimg in iC6Accel is given defined as


Equivalent function ID for DSP_fft32x32 in C6Accel.h is given as

#define F_COMPLXTOREALNIMG_FXN_ID  0x00000410

Note : iC6Accel_ti.h is an codec-app interface header file which shares information between the application and the codec, while C6Accel.h is a header file only used within the XDAIS algorithm.

Step 3. Create Input parameter structure.

All functions in the XDAIS algorithm have their own input parameter structure with varying number of fields depending on the number of arguments required for invoking the underlying DSP kernel. All input and output arrays are passed using inBuf and outBuf descriptors of the IUNIVERSAL interface. Hence the input parameter structure only needs to carry the descriptor ID corresponding to the input/output array as its field. All scalar arguments are passed as fields of the input Parameter structure. Example for creating a input structure for a DSP kernel is shown below.

Function call:

complextorealnimg( float *cplx, float *real, float *img, int nelements);

Input Parameter structure:

                         unsigned int cplx_InArrID1;
                         unsigned int real_OutArrID1;
                         unsigned int img_OutArrID2;
                         int nelements;

Note: Ensure that the change made in iC6Accel_ti.h file is reflected in /soc/packages/ti/c6accel/iC6Accel_ti.h. Inorder to do this simply copy the file from the DSP path to its path in the SOC path in the package

Step 4. Insert case statement for the kernel.

Based on the function ID created insert a case statement inside the switch statement inside the appropriate Vendor ID and Library ID. The complextorealnimg has function ID which describes it as a DSP library function created by the TI as the vendor so we insert the function in

                 /* Define pointer to parameter structure */
                    DSPF_complxtorealnimg_Params *C6ACCEL_TI_DSPF_complxtorealnimg_paramPtr;
                    C6ACCEL_TI_DSPF_complxtorealnimg_paramPtr = pFnArray;'''**''' 
                 /* Check parameters for restrictions */
                       ((C6ACCEL_TI_DSPF_complxtorealnimg_paramPtr->n) < 0)){
                 /* Make function call*/
                    complxtorealnimg((float *)inBufs->descs[C6ACCEL_TI_DSPF_complxtorealnimg_paramPtr->cplx_InArrID1].buf,
                                   (float *)outBufs->descs[C6ACCEL_TI_DSPF_complxtorealnimg_paramPtr->real_OutArrID1].buf,
                                   (float *)outBufs->descs[C6ACCEL_TI_DSPF_complxtorealnimg_paramPtr->img_OutArrID2].buf,

** pFnArray: pointer to function Array. This is computed before the start of the switch statement from the parameter offset field of the extended input arguments.

Step 5. Build the C6Accel library.

Once all the above mentioned code modification are completed, rebuild the package.In order to rebuild the package, execute the following commands from the root package directory $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)

  make clean
  make all

The rebuild compiles the source files and archives the C6accel library files in the $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/soc/packages/ti/c6acel/lib to be consumed by the application. When the codec server builds , it picks up this library, therby integrating the new kernel in the DSP executable that gets consumed in the application.

Step 6. Check for XDAIS compliance issues. It is a good practice to run the built C6Accel though the QualiTI tool to check for XDAIS compliance issues before integrating into a codec server. For more information refer to QualiTI.

Once the modified XDAIS algorithm passes the QualiTI test for XDAIS compliance the modified C6Accel package is ready to be consumed in the codec server/unit servers.

Note: Step 7 is optional and must be followed only if developers wish to create an C6Accel API interface for the DSP kernel they have added to the XDAIS algorithm.

Step 7 Create C6Accel ARM side API call.

Source code for all C6Accel wrapper API calls can be found in $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/soc/c6accelw/c6accelw.c Create C6Accel API call for added kernel in the wrapper source file by adding the appropriate prefix ( usually C6accel+Library name) to the kernel name. The API contains a C6accel handle argument in addition to all the arguments of the original DSP kernel call. All C6accel APIs return error codes so the return type is always integer value. For example C6accel API call for the complxtorealnimg

Int C6accel_DSPF_complextorealnimg(C6accel_Handle hC6accel, float *ptr_cplx, float *ptr_real, float *ptr_img, int npoints) {
    /* Declare variable required to make IUNIVERSAL process call */ 
    XDM1_BufDesc                inBufDesc;
    XDM1_BufDesc                outBufDesc;
    XDAS_Int32                  InArg_Buf_size;
    IC6Accel_InArgs             *CInArgs;
    UNIVERSAL_OutArgs           uniOutArgs;
    Int status;
    /* Define pointer to function parameter structure */
    DSPF_complxtorealnimg_Params              *fp0;
    XDAS_Int8                   *pAlloc;
    /* This Macro assumes that the application prevents thread switch from this point */
    /* Allocate the InArgs structure as it varies in size (Needs to be changed every time we make a API call)*/
    InArg_Buf_size=  sizeof(Fxn_struct)+
    pAlloc=(XDAS_Int8 *)Memory_alloc(InArg_Buf_size, &wrapperMemParams);
    CInArgs= (IC6Accel_InArgs *)pAlloc;
    /* Initialize .size fields for dummy input and output arguments */
    uniOutArgs.size = sizeof(uniOutArgs);
    /* Set up buffers to pass buffers in and out to alg  */
    inBufDesc.numBufs  = 1;
    outBufDesc.numBufs = 2;
    /* Fill in input/output buffer descriptor parameters (Macros Defined in c6accelw_i.h )*/
      /* These Macros are used to setup appropriate Buffer descriptor for input/ouput arrays for the DSP kernel*/
    /* Initialize the extended InArgs structure */
    CInArgs->Num_fxns = 1;
    CInArgs->size     = InArg_Buf_size; // Important step to delegates memory handling to codec engine
    /* Set function Id and parameter pointers for first function call */
    CInArgs->fxn[0].Param_ptr_offset = sizeof(CInArgs->size)+sizeof(CInArgs->Num_fxns)+sizeof(Fxn_struct);
    /* Initialize pointers to function parameters */
    fp0 = (DSPF_complxtorealnimg_Params *)((XDAS_Int8*)CInArgs + CInArgs->fxn[0].Param_ptr_offset);
    /* Fill in the fields in the parameter structure */
    fp0->cplx_InArrID1   =  INBUF0;
    fp0->img_OutArrID2   =  OUTBUF1;
    fp0->real_OutArrID1  =  OUTBUF0;
    fp0->n               =  npoints;
    /* Call the actual algorithm */
    status = UNIVERSAL_process(hC6accel->hUni, &inBufDesc, &outBufDesc, NULL,(UNIVERSAL_InArgs *)CInArgs, &uniOutArgs);
     /* Free the InArgs structure */
    Memory_free(pAlloc, InArg_Buf_size, &wrapperMemParams);
   /*Return Error code to the application */
    return status;
   /* This Macro informs the developer that the application can allow thread switch from this point */

Step 8: Sanity Test for the kernel.

The C6Accel test application found in $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/soc/app is an test application which performs sanity checks on all the kernels in C6Accel. Once you rebuild the package after adding custom DSP kernel to the xdais algorithm, the kernel gets integrated into the unit server that can be found in $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/soc/packages/ti/c6accel_unitservers/$(PLATFORM). The test app is designed to consume this DSP executable. Hence in order to test the added kernel in C6Accel, create test vectors for the kernel and make a call to the DSP kernel via Codec Engine using either the C6Accel API call or the UNIVERSAL_process() call and check the output for correctness and performance.

Integrating C6Accel in user defined codec server

Note: Users who want to use just the codecs and who intend to use the codec server(prebuilt) in the DVSDK package do not have to rebuild the codec server. This section is useful for users who have their own codec server and want to integrate the C6ACCEL in to their servers.

Codec Engine can only have one server package opened at a time in an application and so the C6Accel must be added to the existing user server package that includes the video/audio decoders/encoders. The following reference guide describes how to add the a codec to an existing codec server.


Users can launch the codec engine genServer wizard by going into $(C6ACCEL_INSTALL_DIR)/docs and executing

make -f Makefile.ce.genServer

The rest of the sets to create the unit server are mentioned in the wiki link mentioned above.

C6Accel on DM6467 with DVSDK 3.1

Main article : Using C6Accel on DM6467 with DVSDK 3.x

C6Accel implementation Multiple thread application

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