Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mythology & Verification

It’s festive season in India! During this period one can experience the rich & diversified culture across the country. Apart from the fun and celebrations, this is the period when Indian mythological stories come across very frequently before everyone. While these stories convey subtle facts, rules and maxims to guide our daily lives, they also add meaning to these celebrations. All these stories related to Gods and demons are based on certain basic premises and are usually filled with some common concepts and ideas. It is considered that in every epoch as time passes the demons become prominent disturbing the regular functionality of the world. While these demons are on a rise, God himself arrives on this earth in different avatars (incarnations). He would master the art of war, build his arsenal with all sorts of weapons and finally start his quest to hunt all the demons and bring back the lost balance to this world.  

While pondering over these various stories a thought struck my mind. Isn’t this whole scheme the same in ASIC world? In every ASIC design, as the time passes and the RTL design gets ready, the bugs become prominent disturbing the regular functionality of the ASIC. While these bugs are on a rise, the verification engineer comes into picture in different roles (IP verification, SOC verification, Formal…). He would have mastered the art of verification and ready with his arsenal equipped with various techniques (constraint random verification, coverage, assertions, power aware verification, AMS, GLS…) to hunt down the bugs hiding in the design. At the end of this cycle he would restore the balance i.e. desired functionality of the ASIC and move on to the next one.

Verification surely has come a long way. I still remember the initial days of my career when every fresher (engg. graduate) wanted to be a designer and verification was considered to be a 2nd option. However in the past decade the rising complexity of the designs have improved this role and placed it in the centre. During the recession (2009), my ASIC team had to face layoffs. Even during that period the verification engineers were able to manage more than 1 job offers in limited time.  The demand in verification is continuously on a rise. Now the verification engineer probably develops more lines of code (in comparison to RTL) to build a state of art test bench and uses multiple techniques to get the job done. The verification cycle directly affects both the schedule and quality (first Si success) of the product. The involvement has expanded to TLM modeling, Virtual platform development, functional verification, GLS, ATE vector generation and bring up keeping the engineer busy throughout the ASIC design process.   

So, to the members of the verification fraternity - while you are busy bringing balance to the ASIC functionality, enjoying the festive season and fascinated by the stories, make sure that your arsenal is always well equipped with the tricks and techniques in your pursuit towards Bug Hunting. As Albert Einstein rightly said –

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

Happy Dussehra! Happy Bug Hunting!

PS : This post is an experiment towards bridging technical and off topic subjects. Please provide your feedback by posting a comment or voting (Just 2 clicks).


  1. Gaurav,

    I read your posts for the first time. I think your earlier posts were really more interesting than this mixed post!!

  2. Good one...Time and again its proven that the good will prevail over the evil. But the evil has to transform and present itself in new forms. Otherwise no one realizes the value of goodness :)