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 Decoding Formal
Roger Sabbagh - VP of Applications Engineering at Oski
Roger Sabbagh - VP of Applications Engineering at Oski
Roger Sabbagh works with silicon design teams to find opportunities to deploy formal verification solutions that accelerate verification and close gaps.

Use Formal Like Your Life Depended On It

 
June 7th, 2017 by Roger Sabbagh - VP of Applications Engineering at Oski

CDNLive EMEA was held on May 15-17, 2017 at the Infinity Hotel and Conference Centre in Munich, Germany and Oski was there exhibiting as a Cadence partner in the vendor exposition. It was a privilege to attend and to meet many Cadence users from across Germany, plus a wide spectrum of other places including Brazil, the Czech Republic, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Serbia and Spain.

It was there that Davide Santo, NXP Semiconductor’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) visionary, delivered a standing-room-only keynote in which he described the coming revolution in automated and autonomous driving. He predicted massive growth in future computing requirements that will be necessary to achieve full vehicle automation. He explained how a hybrid topology of a central fusion unit and distributed smart sensors will be required to “sense”, “think” and “act” in unison.

Read the rest of Use Formal Like Your Life Depended On It

Recap: Decoding Formal Club, Spring 2017

 
March 29th, 2017 by Roger Sabbagh - VP of Applications Engineering at Oski

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than another meeting of the Decoding Formal Club! The Decoding Formal Club is a forum for formal verification enthusiasts, pioneers, leaders and friends who work to promote the sharing of ideas, advancement of formal verification technology, and adoption of formal sign-off methodology within the industry. On Tuesday, March 21, the club met to hear presentations from Oski, Nvidia and Arteris.

Vigyan Singhal, Oski CEO and formal verification visionary, started us off by introducing the concept of architectural formal verification. Some system level requirements are, by their very nature, well suited for formal verification. Cache coherence, absence of deadlocks and security features are examples of things that we would want to verify with formal. However, the complexity of today’s systems makes it impractical to do so at the RTL level. Instead, Vigyan talked about how Oski uses abstract components to build a system-level model that can be successfully analyzed by formal verification.

Many in attendance liked this approach but also noted the challenge of ensuring that the behavior of the abstract components matches the implementation in RTL. Vigyan explained how Oski’s methodology has that covered when the properties of the abstract models are validated against the RTL designs to close the loop.

Seven Ways That Formal Verification is Like a Team Sport

 
February 15th, 2017 by Roger Sabbagh - VP of Applications Engineering at Oski

I recently started to develop an appreciation for the sport of cricket during our Oski company-wide, off-site meeting in beautiful Udaipur, India. Before that, if you had mentioned cricket, I would be more likely to think of the bugs I hear chirping on summer nights and that sometimes find their way into my garage.

John Wright speaks at the Oski off-site

However, that began to change on January 26, 2017, when Oski employees were treated to a talk by legendary cricket player and coach, John Wright.  Wright was propelled to stardom when he enjoyed a successful 5-year stint as the first foreign coach of the Indian national team between 2000 and 2005.  With the support of Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, he transformed the Indian cricket team from a group of super-talented individuals, but under-achievers as a team, to consistent world champions. Highlights included beating the Australian juggernaut, who were on a run of sixteen consecutive test wins, and beating Pakistan on their home turf for the first time in more than 50 years.

Interestingly, it was not through a new team system nor by adding new individual skills that this was accomplished.  As an outsider, he succeeded against all odds by a series of small, thoughtful behavioral changes.  Let’s examine these changes and the lessons we can learn from them as formal verification engineers.

John Wright answers questions after his talk

  1. Team First

“Don’t do anything to hurt the team”, says Wright. A winning team must have good chemistry. They must portray an image of being the model team. That means individuals must prioritize the team’s schedule and not keep everyone else waiting. It means warming up as a team before games; treating each other with respect; having a positive attitude, while not being afraid to deal with the negative. This is the responsibility of all team players, but the tone is set by the leaders, starting with the team captain and coach.
Read the rest of Seven Ways That Formal Verification is Like a Team Sport

Part 3: Formal Verification Program Leader: Finishing Well and Learning from the Experience

 
December 29th, 2016 by Vigyan Singhal

In this 3-part blog, I’ve been examining the emerging role of the Formal Verification (FV) Program Leader, an individual who plays a critical part in adoption of FV as part of an organization’s verification strategy, and its deployment on real projects.   The FV Program Leader’s importance and value stems not from him or her being an expert in FV technology, techniques or tools, nor from being the direct manager of the FV engineers in the organization, although he or she may also be one or both of these things in addition to being the FV Program Leader.  Rather, it comes from the FV Program Leader being an advocate, evangelist, facilitator and coordinator for the organization’s efforts to understand, adopt and utilize formal verification.

In part one of this discussion, I listed the six primary aspects of the FV Program Leader’s role: Organization, Training and Upskilling, Test Planning, Progress Metrics, Sign-off Process, and Post Mortem Analysis. In parts one and two, I talked in detail about the first four of these roles.  In this, the third and final installment, I’ll discuss the last two: achieving final sign-off via formal verification and learning from the experience via post-mortem analysis.

Sign-off Process: Sign-off flows are, of course, very familiar to design and verification teams, who are accustomed to using them to sign-off various aspects of a design, such as timing via static timing analysis, functionality via simulation, netlists via RTL-to-gate equivalence checking, and final tape-out databases via LVS and DRC checking.  Sign-off typically involves a checklist of gating criteria that must be reviewed and approved by a committee of stakeholders in the process. The sign-off process helps to determine when a given stage of the design flow is complete and enforces a minimum standard of quality control.

Read the rest of Part 3: Formal Verification Program Leader: Finishing Well and Learning from the Experience

Oski Decoding Formal Club – A First-Timer’s Perspective

 
December 12th, 2016 by Claire Kimple, Marketing Manager at Oski Technology

It’s undeniable: I am a newcomer to the formal verification scene. As one of the newest members of the Oski team, I didn’t know what to expect when I attended the Oski Decoding Formal Club meeting on October 11th. Oski hosted the event at the acclaimed Parcel 104 Restaurant in the Santa Clara Marriott hotel. The ever popular event was sponsored by Synopsys, and provided attendees from semiconductor companies like Apple, Cavium, Cisco, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Western Digital and Xilinx with a great opportunity to network with other formal verification experts and engineers. Our taste buds were treated to a delectable meal made with locally harvested and sustained California ingredients, a Parcel 104 specialty, while Mandar Munishwar (Qualcomm), Ankit Saxena (Oski) and Vigyan Singhal (Oski) engaged our minds with presentations on intriguing formal topics.

Ankit Saxena (Oski) started off the series with a deep dive into “Verifying the Datapath for an AMD Processor”, which he worked on jointly with Sankar Gurumurthy (AMD), Farhan Rahman (AMD) and Ashutosh Prasad (Oski). Ankit’s talk described how data transform designs such as complex multipliers and dividers can be formally verified. View talk here.

Read the rest of Oski Decoding Formal Club – A First-Timer’s Perspective

Another Reason to Stay an Extra Day in Austin

 
June 3rd, 2016 by Pippa Slayton

If you are attending the Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin, Texas, June 5-9, and need a good reason to stay an extra day, look no further. Oski Technology is offering a one-day primer on advanced formal verification techniques at the DAC Decoding Formal one-day training, “Achieving Formal Sign-off”, on Thursday, June 9, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel, Austin. 
Read the rest of Another Reason to Stay an Extra Day in Austin

Part 2: Formal Verification Program Leader: The Critical Role of Planning and Measurement

 
May 17th, 2016 by Vigyan Singhal

As in any engineering endeavor, formal verification involves engaging individuals in many different roles, often including formal managers and, given the technically deep and complex nature of FV, nearly always one or more formal experts. The manager of the formal verification effort on a project may have formal as his or her primary or sole responsibility, or may manage multiple aspects of verification (e.g. both simulation and FV). However, even a full-time formal verification manager may or may not drive the overall formal program in their company or organization.

In part one of this discussion, I talked about the emerging role of the Formal Verification (FV) Program Leader, an individual who enables and drives the formal process by navigating organizational dynamics, understanding designs and their verification complexities and schedules, developing and presenting ROI trade-offs, etc.; all to help achieve project goals. I listed six aspects of this role that the FV Program Leader must master in order to effectively lead the adoption and deployment of formal verification: Organization, Training and Upskilling, Test Planning, Progress Metrics, Sign-off Process, and Post Mortem Analysis.
Read the rest of Part 2: Formal Verification Program Leader: The Critical Role of Planning and Measurement

Achieving Formal Sign-off: Key Learnings for Trainees and Experts

 
May 2nd, 2016 by HarGovind Singh

Formal sign-off is possible with today’s technology and methodology. But to get to formal sign-off takes an understanding of what is possible with formal verification, and an immersion in ongoing practice with formal methods and techniques. Moreover, early experiences with formal can determine later success with formal verification and sign-off. Even with a deep knowledge of a formal verification tool and extensive training from the tool vendor, exponential formal proof complexity often gets in the way of exhaustive coverage. Often what is needed is training in formal verification methodology and formal test planning that includes an exhaustive list of end-to-end checkers, as well as the mastering of formal techniques that help overcome complexity. Read the rest of Achieving Formal Sign-off: Key Learnings for Trainees and Experts

Recap of the 2016 Oski Formal Puzzler – “Chessboard Challenge” (+ Video)

 
March 24th, 2016 by Pippa Slayton

In December 2015, Oski challenged formal users to build the fastest testbench to solve our Oski Formal Puzzler – the Chessboard ChallengeBerkeley Math Circle Monthly Contest 8, 2011, proposed and designed by Evan O’Dorney, three-time Putnam Fellow.  Jesse Bingham from Intel submitted the winning entry, as was announced during a presentation at the recent meeting of the Decoding Formal Club in Santa Clara, CA on February 29, 2016. This was an opportunity to promote the adoption of formal verification across the semiconductor industry, and share formal techniques by showing how they might be used to solve a fun formal puzzle. Read the rest of Recap of the 2016 Oski Formal Puzzler – “Chessboard Challenge” (+ Video)

The Formal Verification Program Leader: An Emerging Role in Verification

 
February 22nd, 2016 by Vigyan Singhal

Formal verification of hardware designs has been around for more than 25 years. Commercial tools, for example from AT&T Bell Labs and IBM, started appearing in the 1990s. It’s only recently that formal verification has been adopted into design and verification flows, due to a number of reasons. It’s harder to learn than simulation or emulation because of its complexity, and it takes time for a verification engineer to become proficient in using it. Formal verification experts typically learn 100s of different techniques over the course of their careers.

Now that we are in the era of formal verification, an important new role is emerging –– the Formal Verification Program Leader (FV Program Leader). Read the rest of The Formal Verification Program Leader: An Emerging Role in Verification

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