Sunday, August 17, 2014

Taking a pulse of what's going on in Verification!

The design complexity today is marching forward at an accelerated speed and its effect on verification is witnessing equal leaps and bounds. The world of verification has grown multi-fold in past 5 years across all fronts covering what all to verify, how to verify and who all required to verify. Today, conferences hosted by EDA partners are not just focusing on a simulator, a language, a methodology or a new tool and instead bringing up discussions on a plethora of topics. It seems to address this growth, Cadence decided to have the 2nd day of CDNLive India 2014 mostly targeting the DV community hosting multiple tracks on verification. With hundreds of footfalls, a mixed bag of papers on all aspects of verification, an extended exhibitor pavilion for partners along with lunch and tea sessions busy with networking, the event was truly in sync with the theme, connect... share... inspire!

A decade back all such events focussed on sharing the upgrades in tools particularly the simulator. The technology update included introduction to new features, added support for language and improved performance. Today no one talks about the simulator and instead everything around it getting integrated under a hood with features like –

  • A broad VIP catalog with added support for easy bring up of test benches for IP/SoC, compliance test suite with ready made coverage/assertions. A new class of accelerated VIPs that interface easily with the emulators giving further boost to the overall productivity.
  • Updates to power aware verification involving multiple tools (formal, simulator & emulator) with support for different power formats/versions, auto generation of relevant assertions and different aides to ease debugging these scenarios.
  • How to model analog blocks to achieve high performance with electrical accuracy as part of the AMS support. Different languages supporting model development, coverage driven verification to validate these models and reuse of the environment when integrated with digital blocks.
  • A portfolio of formal apps that can accomplish the job of static checks related to connectivity, power, registers, X-prop, protocol compliance checks etc.
  • Improved support for IPXACT based flows to enable register modelling, register verification and interface connectivity promoting IP reuse with minimum issues.
  • Integrated support for coverage collection and merging across different levels (IP, sub system & SoC) of verification involving different tools or flows used to achieve verification closure.
  • Verification management featuring executable verification plans, regression management, triaging and analysis with different views based on user’s role in the project.
  • Added debug tools and support to view the transactions, filter or play around back and forth with the simulation logs.
  • Hardware accelerators with improved capacity, performance and features that enable detailed debugging, power aware support, assertions and coverage.
  • Prototyping platforms/emulators and how they enable boot up with android etc. much before the silicon arrives.
  • Improved Virtual platforms and models in sync with the above to enable early software development thereby shifting the whole product development cycle to the left.
  • Performance analysis of SoC confirming architecture stability or assisting in exploring alternates promptly.

Yes! Verification has evolved into a GODZILLA beyond the control of one HVL, one methodology and one simulator. The rules of the game have changed and the industry is responding faster than ever to this change. Observing all these changes I recollect the topic EDA360 introduced by Cadence to the industry back in 2010. While the terminology might have lost its steam, the essence of the idea seems to have realized quite a lot since then. For those who missed reading about it please refer to the below posts summarizing EDA360. Believe me it’s worth reading!

Do you agree that the current state is in sync with EDA360? Leave a comment!

If you have missed out to any of these events, don’t miss to attend DVCON India 2014 on Sept 25, 26. Registrations now open.