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 The Breker Trekker

Archive for December, 2013

Top 5 Holiday Gifts for the Verification Engineer

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Please allow me to start this post with a sincere wish for all of our readers to have a happy and healthy holiday season. There are many enjoyable activities both sacred and secular this time of year, something for everyone whatever your personal beliefs. I hope that you all have the chance to relax a bit and share some delicious food with family and friends.

I thought about writing a column on the top 5 holiday wishes for verification engineers, but I felt that it would be a bit presumptuous to speak for you. We do work very hard to understand what you need in order to tailor our products to gaps in your verification process and speed up your project. Therefore, I’m going to offer 5 gifts for you, the verification engineer, that are available with Breker’s products. I hope that you like them!

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Memories … Light the Corners of My Verification Space

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

With due apologies to Barbra Streisand, the topic of today’s blog post is the verification of SoC memories and memory subsystems. Once upon a time, memories were considered just about the easiest design structure to verify. A simple automated test doing “walking 1s” and “walking 0s” supplemented by some random reads and write to random addresses with random data seemed to be good enough.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then? Or has time re-written every line?” Actually, it really was that simple back then. But a lot of changes in memory subsystems have come along to complicate matters: memory regions, caches, multi-processor designs, shared memory, complex memory maps, etc. Verification of memories today is much more challenging, with many corner cases to be exercised, but it’s an essential part of the overall SoC verification effort.

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Who Will Win the Embedded Processor War?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As you likely know by now, Breker’s primary focus is on verifying SoCs with one or more embedded processors. Sometimes these processors are homogenous, most commonly either the Intel/AMD x86 or ARM architecture. Other SoCs have multiple heterogeneous processors, possibly a diverse mix of cores from x86, ARM, MIPS, ARC, Tensilica, etc.

The trade press devotes a lot of virtual ink to covering the “war” for embedded processor dominance. An article last week made the case for ARM winning. A recent white paper discussed “heterogeneous multi-processing” using ARM’s “big.LITTLE” approach of multiple cores with the same architecture but different performance characteristics. Another article reminded us not to forget about DSPs in the heterogeneous mix. The same could be written about GPUs. So what is Breker’s take on all this?

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Guest Post: Yes, Formal Will Dominate Verification

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

As I hoped, my recent post challenging Jasper Design Automation’s statement that “formal will dominate verification” has drawn very good readership and generated some stimulating industry discussions. Today, Joe Hupcey III from Jasper responds and offers more ammunition for their claims of dramatic recent advances in the power and usability of formal technology:

Thanks to the folks at Breker for the comments and analysis in your post asking “Will Formal Really Dominate Verification?” in reference to Jasper’s recent assertion of formal’s ascendancy. As your thoughtful post acknowledges, verifiers are seeing formal starting to take over block and unit level verification, as well as select system-level applications. Indeed, the industry has seen this movie twice before – specifically, the growth of emulation into the mainstream and again with constrained-random simulation.

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