The key to greater design productivity is to detect bugs as early as possible and as close to their source as possible. Lint is the first and critical component of the early-verification tool chain. It is easy to use and finds nontrivial bugs that can save your bacon later on. Real Intent has been a pioneer in developing technologies for early verification and in promoting the paradigm. Earlier this week, in response to customer demand, we announced the release of Ascent Lint 1.2, the next generation lint tool that performs smart syntax and semantic lint checks for complex designs. While there is a variety of lint and RTL code analysis tools available, Real Intent has stepped up to introduce a distinctive lint tool to address the serious deficiencies in the existing lint offerings.
First a little bit of history: Real Intent tools have always used lint technology to check the design prior to formal verification, and issued violation messages about the design to the user in a log file. Over the years, upon customer requests, Real Intent exposed more information in a debug-able report file. Sure enough, it was encouraging to hear from our customers that the Real Intent tool front-end was able to catch crucial issues which some of the lint tools in the market did not. Real Intent has always maintained close relationships with its customers. Ascent Lint 1.2 is a product of these relationships.
Customer feedback indicates that as design complexity has increased, popular lint tools in use today are starting to show signs of severe performance degradation and noise. The lint reports generated by some tools have become cumbersome due to the large number of irrelevant messages generated by them. While some lint tools offer the option of custom rules creation by reusing source code from prepackaged rules, common experience is that the rule language is pretty inscrutable and rules are complex to implement. Also, if implemented in TCL, these custom rules can run very slowly.
Real Intent’s Ascent Lint speeds up the development of complex system-on-chip (SOC) designs by offering the ability to select from a comprehensive set of smart rules based on industry guidelines. These rules are implemented in an extremely fast engine with runtimes as fast as about a minute for checking 230 of our most comprehensive rules on a million gate design. This data point was obtained at a customer site and turned out to be a real eye opener for the customer deeply frustrated with the performance of their existing lint tools. Ascent Lint offers low noise, yet comprehensive reporting which is debug-able through a GUI with cross-probing capability to the design source. Ascent Lint enables customization of company-specific guidelines by graphically configuring existing rules simply by choosing or entering values in a box. We are committed to continue to provide smart industry-standard and customized rules that detect complex design and coding bugs.
As we see other lint offerings falling off a cliff in the face of rich HDLs and design complexity, we believe that Ascent Lint will be the next generation technology that saves the day.
See a couple of other blogs on Ascent Lint: