Emulation is enjoying its moment in the spotlight and none too soon. Design complexity of all types has conspired to make chip verification an arduous task. These days, the fabric of system-on-chip (SoC) designs includes several processing cores, large sets of specialized IP, a plethora of peripherals and complex memories, routinely pushing the design size into the hundreds of million gates. Embedded software now exceeds the complexity of the hardware.
Consider that for each hardware designer there are at least five software developers. No surprise that chip verification and validation has become an overriding concern for all project teams, particularly when hardware and software integration is concerned. Here is where the rubber meets the road, and where the verification challenges reach their peak.