Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.
Oski Technology: new VIP supports Formal Sign-off
February 23rd, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena
When we spoke on the phone about the announcement, I asked Oski VP of Applications Engineering Roger Sabbagh why now for this product release. He said: “I personally have been working in Formal since the year 2000, back when I joined 0-In, and over the years I’ve learned that formal adoption grows slowly.
“Yet although there has never been a knee in the curve, we have seen some important developments in the industry. Synopsys developed PC Formal and Cadence bought Jasper, both indicating that Formal is catching on slowly but surely.”
Meanwhile, per Sabbagh, the industry began to accept that design could be made easier, and productivity improved, through the reuse of standard interfaces – a trend that dovetailed well with Oski’s core competence.
“Oski has been doing Formal for over a decade,” Sabbagh said, “and over that time we had developed an in-house capability, reusable verification IPs specifically tuned for Formal.”
So why now for this week’s announcement?
Sabbagh said it combines trends in reuse and Formal: “We decided to make this verification IP available to the rest of the industry, so they could benefit as well from our work.”
[To help understand the work, a bit from the February 22nd Press Release: “Oski’s VIP library components currently are available for both interface protocol rules and coherency properties for all revisions of the ARM Coherent Hub Interface (CHI) and AXI Coherency Extension (ACE) standards. The Oski Formal VIP Library includes AMBA 5, AMBA 4 and AMBA 3 ARM protocols and are designed for both RTL block verification and architectural verification applications.”]
I asked Sabbagh if Oski worked closely with ARM in developing this VIP.
He answered first in general terms: “We’ve worked with a lot of semiconductor companies in developing our VIP, among them Arteris, the leading NOC company. As well, in many of our consulting service assignments we have been using our VIP.”
Sabbagh then answered specifically: “And yes, we have worked with ARM as well, as a VIP customer.”
Given the number of companies providing verification IP these days, I asked Roger Sabbagh who Oski sees as the competition.
He responded emphatically: “Oski is so unique, because there’s nobody out there focused 100-percent on Formal like we are – Formal tools and services. There’s nobody out there who does exactly what we do.
“I just joined Oski last November, previously working at Huawei Technologies where I was leading the Formal team. But I’ve known about Oski for a long time. When I was at Mentor Graphics where we had joint customers; Mentor provided Formal tools and Oski did the consulting.
“And even before that when I was at 0-In Design Automation, I looked to Oski as one of the thought leaders in Formal.”
“But yes,” Sabbagh offered, “all the Formal tool providers have tried to fill this need, because there is a definite need for reusable verification IP designed specifically for Formal. But that VIP is not portable.
“So what I would say about our solution is, not only do you get the benefit of our VIP being proven by Oski engineers, but it’s also not tool specific. It’s portable across all tools and all flows, a library of verification components that enables Formal sign-off for compliance for ARM protocols.
“In today’s SoC design, there’s a lot of use of ARM protocols – processors that can communicate with other devices like shared memories use ARM ACE protocols to communicate and make sure there are coherent caches.
“There are ARM protocols everyone, and all these IP blocks talk to each other through this protocol. Our announcement allows people to say, I’m Formally proven and complaint.”
With additional enthusiasm, Sabbagh said, “This whole concept of Formal sign-off is something that Oski actually came up with. We are one of the pioneers in this area. Now anyone can run Formal sign-off.”
Excellent, I said, and just in time for DVCon 2017 next week in San Jose.
“Yes,” Sabbagh agreed, “At DVCon, we have a booth and will be talking all about our VIP. But we will also be participating in one of the tutorials – Thursday afternoon during the Synopsys tutorial.”
Do you favor Synopsys over other vendors, I asked.
“Absolutely not,” Sabbagh said. “We’ve done joint marketing with many of the other vendors in the past.”
“Actually,” he added with a chuckle, “we are the Switzerland of Formal, vendor neutral because we’re all about the methodology. Our VIP is completely portable across the tools. We work with whatever tools our customers have decided to use.
“It’s the vendor’s job to sell the tools to the customer. It’s our job to sell our services and our methodologies – and now our VIP. We think this will open many doors for us!”