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Posts Tagged ‘do-254’

The hardest part of DO-254 is…

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

DO-254_imgThe hardest part of DO-254 is not the requirements. It’s not the design. It’s not the verification.

 

We just wrapped up this year’s 3-day DO-254 Practitioner’s Course, and each year I learn something new.  In this year’s training we had attendees from major aerospace companies including Curtiss Wright, Rolls Royce, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Thales and Woodward. It’s always a pleasure to meet the aerospace folks and learn about their projects, goals and challenges. This is the fifth year we’ve done these trainings and each time I pick up subtle points from the instructor showing his impressive expertise in the subject.

 

This year’s subtle point that I picked up is about the hardest part of DO-254.

 

The hardest part of DO-254 is the cultural change that needs to take place in order for the organization to successfully comply to DO-254.  This can be the make or break of the project.  It doesn’t matter if you have top-notch planning documents if no one will adhere to them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written 1000+ page requirements document, but the verification engineers cannot use them because the requirements are not verifiable. It doesn’t matter if you have the best design standards if your designers would not abide by them. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest verification tools but no one in your team understands how to satisfy tool assessment and qualification. It doesn’t matter if you have the most comprehensive review checklists if your reviewers will not use them and document the review activities and results.

 

DO-254 is a collection of industry best practices and all of its processes are tightly integrated, but it doesn’t matter if you have the DO-254 processes tightly in place if your team members will not abide by them.  The hardest part of DO-254 is the cultural change that needs to be embraced by all team members. The cultural change is what can get you.

 

Many organizations new to DO-254 are eager to jump on board and start applying DO-254 to their projects due to its high demand in the avionics industry.  You might be ready to take the leap and make the cultural change yourself, but is the rest of your team and organization ready for the cultural change?

 

If you’d like to learn more, or register for next year’s class, call us at 1+702-990-4400 or email training@aldec.com.

 

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

Developing high-reliability FPGAs for DO-254

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

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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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.

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Stress-Relief for Requirements-Based Verification

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

DO-254-RequirementsIf they’re being honest, anyone who has verified an FPGA under strict DO-254 guidance will tell you that it is stressful. Show me an engineer on their first DO-254 project – and I’ll show you someone pulling out their hair and downing what is probably their 5th cup of coffee while these important questions weigh heavy on their minds:

Have we reviewed all FPGA requirements and validated derived FPGA requirements? Do we have a good record of the review activities?

Do I have a test for each functional FPGA requirement? What’s the status of the tests? How do I track the progress and document the results?

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See the Future with Impact Analysis

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Imagine if you could look into the future…

–   See the impact of requirements changes before they occur.

–   Know with certainty which lines of code in an HDL design or testbench file needed to be re-evaluated based on a change request.

–   Understand how a requirement change impacts the project schedule to help plan and allocate resources effectively.

Impact Analysis Defined

Seeing the future is possible with Impact Analysis, a practice within the change control process of product development. Impact Analysis provides information on what design and verification elements, artifacts, hardware components and materials, personnel, assets or activities that may be affected due to a requirement change. Armed with Impact Analysis data, you can then determine which elements to re-evaluate, modify, and even re-create if necessary.

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For DO-254 Compliance, Hardware Flies Not Simulations

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

DO-254 defines 3 types of verification methods: Analysis, Test and Review. In order to satisfy the verification objectives defined in DO-254, applicants must formulate a requirements-based verification plan that employs a combination of the three methods.

Analysis vs. Test

A computerized simulation of the hardware item is considered an Analysis. Test is a method that confirms the actual hardware item correctly responds to a series of stimuli. Any inability to verify specific requirements by Test on the device itself must be justified and alternative means of verification must be provided. In DO-254, the hardware test is far more important than the simulation. Certification authorities favor verification by test for official verification credits because of the simple fact that hardware flies, not simulation models.  Requirements describing pin-level behavior of the device must be verified by hardware test.

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Still managing FPGA requirements with Word and Excel?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Smart engineers work smart by using tools that are readily available and that they know how to use.  Wise engineers work wisely by first evaluating the options, analyzing the results and making a strategic decision not only for the current project  but, more importantly, for upcoming projects as well.

Recently, a customer developing avionics systems came to us with their frustrations in managing FPGA requirements.  They managed higher level requirements, such as line replaceable unit (LRU) and circuit card assembly (CCA) requirements, in IBM DOORS. The FPGA requirements, test cases and their traceability to HDL design, testbench and simulation results were managed using Word and Excel.  Since DOORS lacked the capability to trace to FPGA design and verification elements necessary for DO-254 compliance, the customer felt they had to choose Word and Excel.

Why? Because Word and Excel are readily available and the team members already know how to use them.  But as their projects grew in complexity increasing the number of requirements to be managed, they found that Word and Excel have many shortcomings and realized that they are not the right tool when it comes to requirements management and traceability.

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

 

Does DO-254/CTS™ Support FPGAs with Serial High-speed I/Os?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

As a DO-254 evangelist, I travel quite a bit attending conferences and meeting customers all over the world. One question I occasionally get from engineers is whether Aldec’s mil/aero verification solution, DO-254/CTS™, supports verification of FPGA designs with high speed interfaces (for example ARINC 818, LVDS, DDR3 or PCIe).

Depending where I’m at I’ll tell them, “Oui!” or “Hai!” or simply “You bet it does”. Occasionally I’ll respond, “화장실이 어디 있어요!” in hopes that someone will kindly direct me to the nearest restroom.

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

Following the Roadmap to Successful Traceability

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

If DO-254 is both the mission and the map required to achieve compliance, then traceability represents the roads on that map. Consider this.

- Roads connect two or more places on a map; traceability connects two or more elements in a project (such as functions, requirements, concept, design, verification data and test results).

- Road names help identify specific places that are linked to it; traceability names help identify specific project elements that are linked to it.

– In the absence of roads, reaching your destination is practically impossible;  in the absence of traceability achieving compliance is also practically impossible.

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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.

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