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Archive for February, 2015

New Ascent Lint, Cricket Video Interview and DVCon Roses

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

New Ascent Lint with DO-254 Compliance Testing

On February 25 we announced the 2015 release of Ascent Lint for comprehensive RTL analysis and rule checking. The new version for 2015 delivers enhanced support for the SystemVerilog language, DO-254 policy files for compliance testing of complex electronic hardware in airborne systems, deeper rule coverage and easy configurability. We believe it is the industry’s fastest-performance, highest-capacity and most precise Lint solution in the market.

Additional enhancements and new features for Ascent Lint include:

  • Enhanced VHDL finite state machine (FSM) handling for deeper analysis
  • 17 new VHDL and 12 new Verilog lint rules that ensure design code quality and consistency for a wide range of potential issues
  • Lower noise in reporting of design issues

To read further details about the announcement, click here. For additional insights and comments from Srinivas Vaidyanathan, staff technical engineer, including his take on the Cricket World Cup, please watch the video interview below.

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Happy Lunar New Year: Year of the Ram (or is it Goat or Sheep?)

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

The Lunar New Year Day is on Thursday February 19, 2015.  According to Chinese astrology, 2015 is year of Wooden Ram and is the 4,712th year in the traditional calendar.  The original Chinese word for this year is “yang,” a generic term for various horned ruminating mammals. During the translation process, people have interpreted the word differently, and communities pick the animal that represents the qualities they admire. For example, sheep are associated with mildness and moderation, which is seen as an ideal attitude by some Asian societies, so they will call 2015 the Year of the Sheep.

You can learn an overwhelming amount of information at various web pages.  The following Wikipedia page is a good place to start:  Goat (zodiac). Let’s just say that the Year of the Ram will be an auspicious one and will bring a happy turnaround in fortunes in the coming months.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

P.S.  I am reminded of the stories about early computer translation programs that converted “hydraulic ram”  into the equivalent of “water goat,” which is not the same thing!

Video: Clock-Domain Crossing Verification: Introduction; SoC challenges; and Keys to Success

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

In the YouTube video interview below, Oren Katzir, vice-president of application engineering, introduces the topic of clock-domain crossing (CDC) verification.  He identifies what are the four key issues that need to be met to achieve SoC sign-off, and what are the features that Real Intent’s Meridian CDC tool offers to handle the deluge of data that can arise in CDC analysis, and as well, work effectively with different design methodologies.  I am sure you will learn something from Oren’s experience with many customers’ designs.

A Personal History of Transaction Interfaces to Hardware Emulation: Part 2

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

In part one, I shared how Dan Hafeman, CTO at IKOS Systems, championed the use of transaction-level interfaces to hardware emulation, but it had not caught on (except for one very large and generous customer) by the time of the dot-com crash in the early 2000’s.

Since this is a personal history, I’ll start this part with a bike ride. In October 2013, John Stickley took me on a 40-mile bicycle tour from Fort Lee, NJ, to Brooklyn, NY, and back (amazingly, Manhattan is bike-friendly now!)  John was one of those R&D engineers who had worked with our customer in the late 90’s on the SystemC modeling side.  Ever since, John has been at the center of the emulation transaction modeling world, for IKOS and then for the Mentor Emulation Division after the acquisition of IKOS by Mentor Graphics.

Since I’d last seen John, I’d had the chance to write a SystemC-based interface to ARM Fast Models (ARM’s high-level processor and other models) using TLM2, the transaction-Level Modeling API standard. I’d been out of transaction-based modeling for 10 years, but this was an “Aha!” moment. This was what we had needed back at the turn of the century! The rest of the world had finally caught up to what we had created back then.

John and I had a chance to talk about this after the bike ride, and he agreed with me completely. John was always enthusiastic, but now especially so.

John Stickley on the Brooklyn Bridge

John Stickley on the Brooklyn Bridge

What happened?

At this point, I’m not the best person to write the history of transaction APIs, but I can try.

First, Accellera standardized the transaction interfaces to emulation as SCE-MI (standard co-emulation modeling interface). The Open SystemC Initiative finally achieved what the Virtual Socket Interface Alliance could not and created a TLM (transaction-level modeling) standard as part of SystemC. TLM2 followed, and I suspect what really launched it was the extensions mechanism.

People will criticize TLM2 for being simple, but it needs to be: address-based reads and writes, basically — and the extensions mechanism offers at least a standard escape hatch for bus-specific features. When ARM created its mapped-instruction-set processor models, they could create the necessary extensions specific to the AMBA bus.

Then Accellera, spearheaded by John Stickley, moved to a later generation standard, SCE-MI 2, which implemented a multi-channel transaction interface that naturally integrated with other modeling interfaces like SystemVerilog DPI (direct programming interface) and TLM2. With easily interoperable standards-based interfaces, plus the availability of high-level models and tools, an entire ecosystem was possible. Now, everyone is talking about this use model with emulators, and even yet higher-level use models like scenario-based test bench generation.  In some cases, you can build transaction-based environments that test packet-based systems more richly than in-circuit emulation ever could!

It was good to see an idea that was ahead of its time, as originally conceived at IKOS, finally become well-established in verification. This involved the efforts of not just the IKOS people, most of whom are still developing the technology at Mentor, but also the other vendors, standards bodies, and customers throughout the market.

I was always especially proud of the original IKOS effort, because it was the first large and critical project I had led.  But I was even prouder to tell its original inventor, Dan Hafeman, that his long ago idea was now mainstream, and had changed the industry.

This brings my retrospective to the end.  If I missed an important piece of the story let me know.

 

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