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Archive for the ‘Functional Verification’ Category

Averting CDC Roadblocks in FPGA Design

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Rough-RoadThis being my first summer in Las Vegas, it is the first time I’ve experienced the rainy, desert monsoon season and the powerful flash floods it can bring. Last week one of those monsoons, powered by the remnants of Hurricane Norbert, produced floodwaters so strong they completely washed out a section of the I-15 Interstate north of town. With no road for several days, those traveling to and from Utah were forced to take a long detour, winding through nearby towns and wasting precious travel time.

An effective CDC solution for design rule checking can work much the same way, like a straight, clearly marked highway that quickly delivers you directly to your destination. Without such a solution, detouring past the many CDC issues that are becoming more pervasive in FPGA design can quickly become a long, winding road – and an inefficient use of time and resources. I covered some of these CDC nightmares in a previous article, and in this post I’ll share some best practices to help avoid these roadblocks. I’ll also demonstrate how new CDC rule plugins (to be added later this year to ALINT™) can help in the mitigation of such issues.


The 80s music at DAC was my idea. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

If you attended the Monday Night Reception at DAC 2014, you were greeted with a blast of 80s pop music. If you then said to yourself, “I’d like to meet the genius behind that idea” – that would be me. A few weeks before DAC, our marketing manager came to me with the task of being the DJ for the Monday night reception. As soon as I heard “DJ” I envisioned turntables, cool headphones, disco lights and all the fame that follows. My dreams were dashed a few moments later when she explained that I would only have a PA and a laptop.

Undaunted, I resolved to be the best DJ in the history of DAC Monday Night Networking Receptions. The first challenge was finding music everyone would enjoy. I naturally settled on 80s pop as my genre. I had the brilliant idea of picking a few songs from each year and playing it as a progressive 80s timeline during the evening. I changed my mind when I realized that bright idea would require some serious manual research and work.

Did I give up? Of course not. I did what any good engineer would do – I found an easy (and smart) solution that did not require substantial extra effort – a bit like re-using verification ip’s instead of making them from scratch. This level of engineering genius is often mistakenly perceived as laziness, but I like to call it being smart. In fact I recently wrote a blog on the topic of working smart not hard.

For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

OS-VVM CoveragePkg, A Detailed Example

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Alex Grove, FirstEDA Applications Specialist, was kind enough to author a guest blog for Aldec. Here’s an excerpt:

Here in Europe, I recently had the opportunity to work with Jim Lewis, OS-VVM Chief Architect and IEEE 1076 Working Group Chair, on the first Advanced VHDL Testbenches & Verification training course. This training, held in Bracknell, UK, was attended by engineers from several major European system companies who design and verify programmable devices (FPGAs). VHDL is by far the dominate language used by Europe’s system companies for the design and verification of FPGAs, however it is unclear to many how to enhance their verification with VHDL. What I have found is that experienced FPGA design engineers (including myself) are not utilising the VHDL language for verification.

Jim Lewis introduces VHDL’s verification capabilities, including new VHDL 2008 features and the Open Source VHDL Verification Methodology (OSVVM). OSVVM provides a methodology for testbench development and verification packages that provide functional coverage and random value generation. (more…)

Simulate Smarter than a Secret Agent

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

In James Bond movies, Agent 007 has some awesome gadgets but never listens to Q’s instruction on how to use them properly. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if Bond actually did learn about the various features of his tools and how to use them most efficiently.

Sure, that would probably eliminate all of the plot twists that make for a great movie, but when it comes to real life – I don’t care for plot twists. What about you? If you were a secret agent given these tools to keep you out of trouble or even save your life – would you take the time to learn about all of the features?


Much has changed in the last 30 years

Friday, January 10th, 2014

When I first launched Aldec in 1984, home computers hadn’t quite taken off and innovations such as the compact disk and those oversized, power draining cellphones were still struggling to obtain mass acceptance.

Fast forward 30 years, even those of us in the electronics industry have whiplash from the speed at which technology is advancing and delivering new products. Buyers are more eager to become early adopters of innovative new technology, and smarter, faster tools are required to keep pace.

As a long-time member of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) community, Aldec has had a front row seat to the technology race and over the years we have celebrated many successes of our own. Here, our product managers reflect on some of our most memorable highlights from 2013.


It’s no accident that Aldec offers the best VHDL-2008 support

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Here at the Aldec corporate office, we have a sign that reminds us all of our mission in the field of Technology. It reads, ‘To deliver solutions that provide the highest productivity to value ratio; supporting our existing products while delivering innovation to current and new technologies’. We have similar statements to reaffirm our commitment in the areas of Research, Alliances, and Culture – we call it our “Aldec DNA”.

Because we genuinely want to have a clear understanding of our user’s requirements and methodology preferences, we continually engage in surveys and interviews.  The knowledge we gain better positions us to support our existing products and to deliver that support where it matters the most to our users. If you’ve ever had that frustrating experience where your favorite tool no longer supports your methodology of choice – then you understand why this is so important.

Our Commitment to the VHDL Community

When it comes to VHDL-2008, we have learned from our customers that many are happy using the methodology – and continue to successfully deliver cutting-edge technology with it. So, while we remain committed to delivering innovation to new technologies, our R&D teams also invest a great deal of development time to ensure that Aldec solutions continue to offer a high level of support for popular languages like VHDL.

For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

Effective Communication is Key in Relationships… and ESL Design!

Monday, November 25th, 2013

COMRATE™, the co-simulation solution developed by Aldec and Agilent is a lot like “couples-therapy” that can help get your digital blocks talking to the rest of your model-based design.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at a very basic model-level design and think about it from design-under-test perspective (i.e., what are the challenges associated with verifying this DUT):

For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.


Why Randomize?

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Jim Lewis, VHDL Training Expert at SynthWorks (and founding member of OSVVM, which Aldec was an early adopter of) was kind enough to author a guest blog for Aldec. Here’s an excerpt:

After presenting a conference paper on how to do OSVVM-style constrained random and intelligent coverage (randomization based on functional coverage holes), I received  a great question, “Why Randomize?”

The easiest way to answer this is with an example.  Let’s look at a FIFO test – test a FIFO, write to it, read from it, write to it and read from it simultaneously, fill it and see that additional writes are held off successfully, and empty it and see that additional reads are held off successfully. 

Most certainly a FIFO can be tested using a directed test (just code, no randomization).  The following simulation waveform shows diffcount (the number of words in the FIFO) for a directed test.   The lowest value is empty.  The highest is full.  Using this, you can visually check off all of the required conditions and see that the FIFO is indeed tested.

For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

Verilog-AMS & Multi-Level Simulation

Monday, September 16th, 2013

It occurred to me that it has been a few months since we shared an update on HiPer Simulation A/MS. Following DAC 2013 and Daniel Payne’s posts at SemiWiki (post 1, post 2), we at Aldec and Tanner EDA have received many inquiries from the field, conducted a number of evaluations, and deployed our analog/mixed-signal (AMS) design flow with our first mutual customers. In this article, I’ll share more the mixed-signal simulation methodology and highlight some of Verilog-AMS use cases that we have seen in the field.

Digital & Analog HDLs

The Verilog and VHDL languages were designed to handle discrete signals, where the number of possible signal values is limited (e.g. 1, 0, X, Z). Whereas Verilog-A was designed to handle continuous-time (analog) signals, that can take any value from a continuous range at any point.

For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

HW Designers: Brush up on your SV with Online Training

Monday, August 12th, 2013


Fast Track to SystemVerilog for Verilog Users

The ability to adopt methodologies and get up to speed quickly is critical in today’s fast moving environment. Aldec offers Fast Track™ ONLINE trainings designed for busy engineers to increase their productivity and enhance their skill level from the comfort of their own browser.

Got SystemVerilog? While it may be a fashionable topic among verification engineers, it’s generally a shunned subject among hardware designers. While there are many good reasons for this (overgrown size of the SystemVerilog standard, expensive options required to use many language features in simulation, poor support in low-end tools, etc.), designers familiar with classical Verilog can benefit greatly from the features available in the Design Subset of SystemVerilog. Designing state machines is one excellent example. It is as easy and elegant in SystemVerilog as it is in VHDL – and those machines even synthesize in better tools!


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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