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Archive for June, 2013

DO-254: Insights from a DER

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

An Interview with FAA Consultant DER, Randall Fulton

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with an avionics industry certification expert, FAA Consultant Designated Engineering Representative (DER), Randall Fulton. We began discussing common mistakes in DO-254 projects, and then branched out to many different areas including future of DO-254, industry engineering best practices, and his advice to organizations new to DO-254.


Louie: In your experience, what are the common mistakes in DO-254 projects?

Randall: Starting certification liaison activities and the SOI-1 planning audit after the design already exists.  Many projects also need to read the additional guidance from the FAA in Order 8110.105 to understand the impact and be prepared to show the data to satisfy the Order. Organizations also underestimate the resources required for a project. This includes staffing as well as managing all the data. Another common area is not appreciating the impact of effective requirements writing skills.


Wait….Did you say HDL Editor?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Productivity Boosting Features
Yes I did, but with no intention to start a holy war on which HDL editor is best. When it comes to HDL editors, each engineer has their own choice and I am not attempting to hurt any madly, deeply felt sentiments. My goal is only to bring the awareness to those using the HDL editor built into Active-HDL™ and to help them use it more efficiently.

There are two main categories for HDL editors (1) general purpose text editors, and (2) integrated text editors. Both have their own pros and cons, and in the end it is for each engineer to decide which suits their needs.

The HDL editor built into Active-HDL falls under the second category of integrated text editors. It offers many basic features (syntax highlighting, templates, columns selection, code folding, auto-formatting) as well as semantic features (code navigation, on-the-fly error detector), and also offers seamless integration with the simulator and version control system. The HDL editor in Active-HDL can be used with VHDL, Verilog, SystemVerilog, SystemC, C/C++, PSL, OVA, Perl scripts and Tcl scripts.


Demystifying Traceability

Monday, June 17th, 2013

For DO-254 Compliant FPGAs and ASICs

I have been getting a lot of questions from our customers about traceability in the context of DO-254 and airborne FPGAs and ASICs.  It seems that there are several new concepts and terminologies associated to traceability that are new to most of us.  So I thought I would shed some light in this blog and explain the basic 5 terminologies. Also I have always liked the word “demystify”, but never had the chance to use it – so here is my chance.

Traceability – Traceability is the activity that maps all of the design and verification elements back to requirements to ensure that what is being built and tested is based on the requirements. Traceability is the correlation between system requirements, FPGA requirements, conceptual design, HDL design, post-layout design, verification test cases, testbench and test results.

Downstream Traceability – A top to bottom reporting activity that shows the mapping or correlation between system requirements, FPGA requirements, HDL design, test case, testbench and test results.  Running a downstream traceability can expose FPGA requirements that are not implemented by any HDL function or not covered by a test case.

Upstream Traceability – A bottom to top reporting activity that shows the mapping or correlation between test results, testbench, test case, HDL design, FPGA requirements and system requirements.  Running an upstream traceability can expose derived FPGA requirements or unused HDL functions.  Tools like Spec-TRACER can also use upstream traceability to expose all of the design and verification elements associated to a FAILED simulation result.


Back from DAC

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Functional Verification Insights from Austin

Aldec Dac 2013

I just returned  back to the office from the 50th Design Automation Conference (DAC) which took place in Austin, TX, on June 2—6. As I began compiling my trip report, I thought that I might share some of my observations, especially for those who couldn’t attend this industry event but still wanted to gain some insight.



Conference itself

One of the reasons I like DAC is that it has always been the main industry event, attracting people from all over the world, and provides participants with the opportunity to meet most of their key customers, ecosystem partners, and competitors in a single location. From an exhibitor’s perspective, DAC is mainly about engaging with attendees on the floor, learning about their current and anticipated challenges, and educating them on how they can innovate and succeed using our product offerings.


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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