Pippa Slayton is Marketing and Business Development Manager at Oski Technology. She has 8+ years experience in the high-tech industry and drives marketing campaigns, marketing strategy, product launches, social media, and community building and event program management for Oski’s formal … More »
September 24th, 2015 by Pippa Slayton
On the radio yesterday, we heard that the song “Happy Birthday To You”, one of the most widely sung tunes in the world, was ruled by federal judge George H. King to finally be in the public domain!
This welcome news seems to come at the right time, as Oski Technology plans to celebrate the second anniversary of the Decoding Formal Club at our quarterly meeting on October 21 at Computer History Museum, in Mountain View.
Since it was founded in October 2013, the Decoding Formal Club has drawn the attention of engineers, designers and verification managers. In a relatively short time we have covered much ground, and become a forum where formal knowledge and experience can be shared among the growing community of formal enthusiasts. In turn, Oski’s featured presentations have covered many aspects of formal sign-off methodology: Bounded Proof, Abstraction Models, Formal Test Planning, End-to-End Checkers and Constraint Management.
September 9th, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
Gabe Moretti of Chip Design used several points from Jin’s blog post below, in his recent article titled, “Design and Verification Need a Closer Relationship.” The article can be found at: http://bit.ly/1fGyXW2
Today, verification engineers have a whole arsenal in their tool kit in order to combat hidden bugs in the design. Different verification techniques render different working relationship with the designers.
Formal verification is a white-box verification technique, which means formal engineers need to have a good understanding about the internals of the design in order to do effective formal verification. Therefore, formal engineers and RTL designers naturally have a much tighter working relationship than other disciplines.
First, a sound verification methodology should allow equal contribution from all effective techniques, which includes leveraging the exhaustiveness of formal to sign-off on design blocks that are harder to verify with simulation. The block partition between formal and simulation should be clean to simplify the effort on both ends. To achieve that, formal engineers should participate in the architectural planning and exploration stage of design development in order to help influence decisions regarding design partition and block interface. A well-partitioned design with a clean interface will make the decision on where to apply formal, as well as the actual formal verification tasks, much easier.
August 12th, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
EDA’s verification market segment is not the only place where something’s named for the Cal (University of California, Berkeley) mascot Oski. A Blue and Gold Fleet boat named Oski sails out of Pier 39 in San Francisco and takes visitors around the Bay and Alcatraz.
When I saw the Oski pulling away from the pier, I couldn’t help but draw an analogy between Oski Technology’s mission and the choppy waters the boat was heading into on that sunny day. Sunny days and choppy waters are something verification engineers can face on a daily basis. Verification tasks are so challenging in today’s for system-on-chip (SoC) designs that verification alone takes more than 60% of the project cycle. What’s more, simulation alone for SoC designs will leave large holes for bugs to sneak through, all the way to silicon. The challenge of verification actually is more daunting than the choppy waters of San Francisco Bay.
June 19th, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
The story of Louis Zamperini, as told by Laura Hillenbrand in “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”, is a great testimony of the strength of human spirit. Going through unimaginable catastrophes, including drifting 47 days on the open sea with leaping sharks, thirst, starvation, and machine gun attack from a bomber plane, as well as enduring 3 years under severe and brutal conditions as a POW in Japan, Zamperini emerged unbroken with grace, humanity and love.
This is such an inspiring story that when I thought about writing about Oski DAC 2015 “Break the Testbench” Challenge results, the word “unbroken” came to mind. While this is no comparison in its scale to the story of Zamperini, the word “unbroken” succinctly summarizes the challenge result.
June 6th, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
Oski Decoding Formal Events are usually hosted at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and have attracted lots of formal enthusiasts in the bay area. Deep formal talks from Oski, lectures given by formal experts from different companies, good networking, cool gifts and museum tours have become the signature of these events that formal engineers look forward to, every quarter.
To reach out to formal enthusiasts around the world and create a bigger event than usual, the 2015 Q2 Decoding Formal event will be hosted at DAC. Our theme is proving completeness of End-to-End Formal for Sign-off.
May 18th, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
You may remember the Oski Technology Live Verification Challenge in 2012, where during the 72 hours of DAC, Oski verification engineer Chirag Agarwal formally verified a well-simulated design from NVIDIA, sight unseen, live and on camera, and found 4 corner case bugs. The challenge results exceeded everyone’s expectations, and inspired other companies to do more with formal in their verification flow. See the Live Oski Verification Challenge, and a blog recap and six-minute video, here.
May 1st, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
My daughter has been learning violin for the last 5 years with a wonderful Suzuki teacher. She emphasizes proper posture, beautiful tone and a good work ethic. This has built a solid foundation for my daughter to venture into learning other instruments. Last fall my daughter started playing flute for her school band, and viola at Young String Ensemble, the youngest division of Portland Youth Philharmonic, founded in 1929 as the first youth orchestra in the United States.
To help her prepare for the upcoming audition for the more advanced Portland Youth Conservatory Orchestra, we decided she would take some viola lessons with the Oregon Symphony Principal Violist. We were totally blown away after just one lesson.
April 1st, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
“Shift Left” has become a hot phrase after Aart’s keynote speech at DVCon2015 where he talked about how shifting left in schedule resulted from 10x productivity gain in design, IP, verification and software can spur on 100x opportunities in applications across all fields. He suggested many of these technological advances have the potential of changing what mankind is all about.
Static and formal techniques were mentioned as one of the mechanisms that increase productivity and contribute to shift left in the verification schedule. There are several reasons why formal technology is a key driver for the left shift.
The Perils of Aiming Low: How Management Expectations Can Shape Formal Engineers’ Learning and Performance
March 16th, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
I recently read a blog written by Dr. Noa Kageyama, performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus and faculty member, titled “The Perils of Aiming Low: How Our Expectations Can Shape Our Students’ Learning & Performance.”
Based on research findings from schools and sports, Dr. Kageyama concluded that high expectations from teachers and coaches correlate positively with an individual’s learning and growth, helping improve confidence and making the most of one’s ability.
The blog resonates with me because I am a parent, always seeking ways to help my daughters reach their maximum potential. But It also reminds me of a common practice I see in the industry regarding formal verification adoption.
February 3rd, 2015 by Dr. Jin Zhang
Last year, after my presentation to a customer in Asia, the verification manager said, “You should give this talk to our senior executives, so they understand the benefits of formal.”
It was said in a lighthearted manner, but in reality it rang true. Design and verification engineers and their managers understand the value of formal. However in order to request funding to promote formal adoption, they still need to make a case to senior executives as to the value of formal. They need compelling arguments, speaking at a strategic level as to why it is critically important and urgent for the company to adopt formal. The list of concerns for senior executives, is long:
Funding will become easier, if they understand how formal can address their primary concerns.
To stay ahead of competition not only requires innovative ideas, but also a sharpened toolkit. Semiconductor companies large and small are actively investing in formal adoption so that they have the best verification flow with the most advanced tools and methodologies. There aren’t many formal experts who can do End-to-End formal in the industry. Many companies are paying top dollar to attract formal verification engineers or outsource formal verification tasks for critical projects to the Oski Technology. So if your company doesn’t use formal verification, then this is an easy case to make, in order to catch up with competition.
A post-silicon bug is a nightmare to senior executives. It signifies poor quality, delayed schedule and wasted money. No matter how complex the bug might be at the system level, it resides in one of the design blocks and could have been caught earlier. Using End-to-End formal to achieve sign-off is a sure way to catch corner case bugs early in the flow so as to minimize, or even avoid, post-silicon bugs. So if senior executives are concerned about customer issues with products, the best solution is to incorporate formal in the early stage, for sign-off.
Time is money. Delayed project schedule means extra engineering time and lost potential market opportunity. Formal can reduce project schedule as in the Oski Cisco case study, published at DAC 2011. At the very least with formal, once a property is proven, verification is done. Unlike simulation where reaching the last 20% of coverage closure could take 80% of the time, so there is never a real sense of being complete as it is impossible to simulate all input vectors.
So if adding formal to the flow helps you keep up or stay ahead of competition, avoid post silicon bugs and keep your project schedule in check, it has a big impact for the company. This should make a strong case to senior execs that formal is something they should hear about – and sponsor – today.
Rob Kurshan, early pioneer and expert in formal verification, speculates here on the future of formal verification in a video interview at a past meeting for the Decoding Formal Club, a forum hosted by Oski Technology for formal enthusiasts, pioneers, leaders and colleagues who work to promote the sharing of ideas and the advancement of formal technology. On February 9 Synopsys is sponsoring the next Decoding Formal Club Meeting about constraints, liveness vs. safety, formal at ARM (and a Klein bottle). Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Sign up here.