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 Aldec Design and Verification
Jacek Majkowski, Senior Hardware Engineer
Jacek Majkowski, Senior Hardware Engineer
Jacek Majkowski is a Senior Hardware Engineer at Aldec, and a specialist in SCE-MI Co-emulation. Prior to his current role, Jacek spent 7 years in the field of hardware assisted verification. Jacek received his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from AGH University of Science and … More »

Why I see C in SCE-MI

 
March 18th, 2016 by Jacek Majkowski, Senior Hardware Engineer

blog_img_scemi_022416The two questions I hear most often while doing presentations about SCE-MI transaction based emulation are “Can we have coffee break?” and “Why do we need a thin C layer between two SystemVerilog tops”?

You a probably reading this during a coffee break, so let’s jump to second question. It refers to this diagram showing how to connect a SystemVerilog testbench (usually UVM) with DUT in SystemVerilog using a DPI transactor, as defined by the Function-based.

blog_img_scemi_01

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UVM. It’s Organized and Systematic.

 
February 10th, 2016 by Henry Chan

The-fundamentals-of-UVMOne of the reasons I like using UVM is its tendency toward an organized structure and uniformity. Some may find it annoying to adhere to such a strict format in UVM, but I think it’s a good way to keep the basics of UVM engrained in your brain. You always want a good foundation and development of strong fundamentals in any endeavor. Verification is no different and UVM hammers the fundamentals home.

UVM has a great structure and organization paradigm. I consider there to be two distinct and fundamental elements in the UVM structure: Components and Objects. Now this characterization isn’t strictly correct because uvm_components are extended from uvm_objects, but I think they are used in such a way that warrants the distinction. I consider it similar to the idea of trucks and cars. In my view, trucks are also cars, but it’s useful to note the difference.

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Reprogrammable, reprogrammable, reprogrammable: What’s great about FPGAs!

 
January 22nd, 2016 by Alex Grove, Applications Specialist at FirstEDA

I-loveFPGAsI like FPGAs. My first experience with an FPGA was my university final year project where I demonstrated BIST with four Xilinx© 3000 devices; this was before FPGAs had JTAG built in. Filling up these devices with ViewDraw schematics required many hours in front of a terminal.   Fast track to today’s advances such as Xilinx UltraScale and Vivado HLx, and I hope you would agree things have moved on quite a bit.

Amid all this changes, however, there are some things that have remained constant. Those are the three things that are great about FPGAs: they are reprogrammable, reprogrammable, and, they are reprogrammable!

So how is this capability utilized? Here are three examples:

Electronic products using FPGAs:

I think it is important not look at FPGAs as some poor cousin of an ASIC. This view is from the days of LSI Logic and Xilinx marketing battles, when FPGAs were used for mopping up “glue logic”. Today an FPGA provides a massively parallel programmable digital platform with a lot of silicon IP, such as high-performance interfaces. This capability is widely used by many industries now; it is not solely driven by the volume of parts. Today, you even find FPGAs in consumer products.

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Verifying Large FPGAs Isn’t Easy

 
December 15th, 2015 by Satyam Jani

FPGA designers using VHDL have three choices: Stick with VHDL, switch to SystemVerilog, or.. use the best of both. This guest blog from Doug Perry, Senior Member Technical Staff at Doulos, outlines the pros and cons of each.

The latest crop of FPGA devices are enormous when compared to ASICs that were built not that long ago. Verifying these ASICs required detailed plans, multiple tools, and sometimes special languages. Verification was key because the cost of a respin was prohibitive.  FPGA designers using VHDL have three choices: Stick with VHDL, switch to SystemVerilog, or.. use the best of both. This guest blog from Doug Perry, Senior Member Technical Staff at Doulos, outlines the pros and cons of each.

The same is not necessarily true of FPGAs because they can simply be re-programmed when an error is found. However the cost of finding the error in the lab can still be very expensive. This is related to the fact that the number of LUTs available in the device has skyrocketed, but the number of IO pins has not. Therefore getting visibility into the inner workings of the device from outside becomes much more difficult. Finding the source of an error therefore also becomes increasingly difficult. To counteract this problem, designers need to find errors before the device gets into the lab. To do this they need to adopt ASIC-like verification methodologies.

U.V.M. Spells Relief

 
December 4th, 2015 by Henry Chan

blog_120215Verification can be a challenging endeavor. As designs grow in size and complexity, engineers are having difficulty confirming their designs behave properly. This is where UVM may provide some relief. UVM aims to deliver an easier and more flexible way of creating robust test environments so that you can verify those difficult designs effortlessly.

So what is UVM?

UVM stands for universal verification methodology and is based on an earlier verification methodology (OVM 2.1.1 developed by Cadence and Mentor Graphics). Accellera used this OVM base, continued development, and now maintains it as a more modern and updated version in UVM. Tangibly, UVM is a library of SystemVerilog code that is intended to help engineers write effective test and verification environments. You can download the UVM class library code, user guide, and reference documents from Accellera’s website.

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‘UVM Really is Everywhere’ at DVCon Europe

 
November 4th, 2015 by Krzysztof Szczur
Next week, Aldec will join other top tier organizations as a proud Silver Sponsor at DVCon Europe 2015 in Munich, Germany. There our team will offer live demonstrations of hardware-assisted verification of UVM following Doulos Ltd.’s Easier UVM guidelines. Alex Grove of Aldec will also deliver a DVCon Europe tutorial, ‘UVM Hardware Assisted Acceleration with FPGA Co-emulation’.

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‘Don’t Be Afraid of UVM’ Webinar on YouTube

 
October 27th, 2015 by Sunil Sahoo

uvm_img_102715Just in time for Halloween, Aldec has released a popular past webinar Don’t be Afraid of UVM for Hardware Designers on YouTube.

Designers are usually very busy doing their work and have little time left for experimentation with new methodologies. Unfortunately for them, official documentation of UVM (Universal Verification Methodology) was written by Verification Engineers for Verification Engineers, concentrating on high-level features and completely neglecting lower-level details such as connecting UVM testbench to your design.

Our webinar starts with solid review of SystemVerilog interfaces with special attention paid to Virtual Interfaces. Then it proceeds to Sequences and other Data Items, processed by Sequencers and fed to the design under test via Drivers. The role of Monitors and Scoreboards in analysis of results is explained. The presentation concludes with environment configuration and running test from the top-level module.

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

Emulation: Thinking outside of the Big Box

 
September 22nd, 2015 by Krzysztof Szczur
 
fpga_base_emulation_bIndependent FPGA Consultant, Doug Amos, has been working in programmable logic and FPGA for over 30 years. He did his first programmable logic design in the mid-80’s (around the time Aldec was born), and since then has designed or supported countless FPGA and ASIC designs.
We’ve been pleased to work with Doug over the past several months, to help tell the story of Aldec’s advanced hardware emulation and SoC and ASIC prototyping solutions. Here is a excerpt from Doug’s recent guest blog:

There’s no question; verification is a massive time drain in SoC and other chip design projects. For many years, those with deep enough pockets have turned to so-called “Big Box” emulators in order to recover some of the time lost on RTL simulation, but what about the rest of us? Is there another way to accelerate verification and reduce our overall project schedule? Yes there is; and at Aldec they call it FPGA-based Emulation.

“FPGAs; aren’t they just for prototyping?”

Sure, FPGAs are the fastest platform for prototyping, but we can also harness that speed into our verification environment, then we can achieve runtime performance 2x to 5x faster than traditional “big box” emulation systems, and all at a fraction of the cost per gate per MHz. The most significant differences between FPGA usage in prototypes and in emulation is shown in table 1.

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Helping FPGA Designers get started with UVM

 
September 8th, 2015 by Satyam Jani
Doulos has partnered with Aldec to deliver this Friday’s webinar, ‘Easier UVM: Helping FPGA Designers Get Started with UVM’ . Presented by Doulos CTO, John Aynsley, the 1 hour webinar includes live Q&A so it’s a great opportunity to find out how Easier UVM can work for you. The webinar includes examples from the Easier UVM Code Generator running under Aldec Riviera-PRO™.

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Developing high-reliability FPGAs for DO-254

 
August 25th, 2015 by Louie De Luna

Developing-FPGAs-for-DO-254You have been developing FPGAs for a long time, and you know your designs from top to bottom. You know every interface protocol, configuration and optimization. You can visualize your timing diagram like you can visualize your upcoming vacation in Hawaii. You can manually write down your memory mapping accurately while under oath. You can pinpoint all CDC paths and emulate metastability in your mind. You are confident that your designs are fault-tolerant and will function as intended. You are the master of your domain.

But… can you bet your life on it?

Are you willing to bet your life on your designs? What about the lives of the thousands of passengers sitting on the airplanes where your FPGA design is installed? How certain are you that it won’t fail in the field? If it were to fail, can it resume normal operation safely and timely? Not just MOST of the time, but EVERY time?

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