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 The Breker Trekker

Archive for February, 2014

Sound the Trumpets! It’s DVCon Time Again!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Next week (March 3-6) marks the return of the most important annual event for verification engineers: the Design & Verification Conference & Exhibition 2014, better known as DVCon. Its home remains the DoubleTree hotel in San Jose, a Silicon Valley landmark and site of many interesting conferences going back to its original days as the Red Lion Inn. Breker will be there in force, so we’d like to tell you about our activities as well as preview the technical program.

Of course, Breker will be participating in the exhibition portion of the show. This has expanded from previous years. The exhibit floor will be open on Tuesday (March 4) and Wednesday (March 5) from 2:30pm to 6:00pm as usual. However, a special preview on Monday from 5:00pm to 7:00pm has been added this year. You’ll have plenty of time to stop by to visit Breker in booth number 902 and (if you must) perhaps some other vendors as well.


Making Verification Debug Less Painful

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

In our last post, we discussed the results of a survey by Wilson Research Group and Mentor Graphics. Among other interesting statistics, we learned that verification engineers spend 36% of their time on debug. This seems consistent with both previous surveys and general industry wisdom. As SoC designs get larger and more complex, the verification effort grows much faster than the design effort. The term “verification gap” seems to be on the lips of just about every industry observer and analyst.

We noted that debug can be separated into three categories: hardware, software, and infrastructure. Hardware debug involves tracking down an error in the design, usually in the RTL code. Software debug is needed when a coding mistake in production software prevents proper function. Verification infrastructure–testbenches and models of all kinds–may also contain bugs that need to be diagnosed and fixed. As promised, this post discusses some of the ways that Breker can help in all three areas.


Bugged about Debug? We Can Help!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

For today’s blog post, we use as our text a recent article on SemiWiki by well-known verification expert Hemendra Talesara. He provides a nice summary of a recent talk given in Austin by another verification expert, Harry Foster from Mentor. Many of you have probably seen Harry’s blog posts dissecting in great detail the results of a bi-annual survey that Mentor commissions from Wilson Research Group. There is much less coverage and analysis of the EDA world available today than there used to be, so we all applaud Mentor’s willingness to fund this survey and share the results.

Hemendra’s focus is on the well-known phenomenon of verification consuming more and more of a chip project’s resources. It is not uncommon to find that SoC projects have two or three verification engineers for every design engineer. So what do these verification engineers do with all their time and resources? The interesting result from the Mentor survey is that verification engineers spend 36% of their time on debug. At Breker, we’ve given a lot of thought about how to reduce debug time and effort, so we’d like to share some thoughts.


More on the UVM: Processor or Verification Component?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Our last post on the relationship between the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) and Breker’s technology was very popular. In only a week, it has become the fifth-most-read post in the nine-month history of The Breker Trekker blog. Clearly people are interested in the UVM and what strengths and weaknesses it brings to the ever more complex world of SoC verification.

This week we’d like to continue the discussion with a topic that we did not address last week: how the UVM offers an alternative to running embedded code by replacing one or more of the processors in the SoC with a verification component (VC). Our CEO, Adnan Hamid, addressed this topic in an Electronic Design article last November.  We’d like to revisit some of the key points of that article in the context of last week’s UVM discussion


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