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 The Breker Trekker
Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson is vice president of Marketing for Breker Verification Systems. He previously served as Product Management Group Director for Advanced Verification Solutions at Cadence, Technical Marketing Director in the Verification Group at Synopsys and Vice President of Applications Engineering at … More »

Breker, Cadence, and Mentor Accelerate Portable Stimulus Standard

September 8th, 2015 by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

This morning, Breker issued a press release with Cadence and Mentor Graphics announcing a joint contribution to the Portable Stimulus Working Group (PSWG) of Accellera Systems Initiative. We expect that this news may be surprising to much of the EDA world, so we’d like to take today’s post on The Breker Trekker to fill in some background and offer you the opportunity to ask questions. Please note that we are speaking only for Breker in this post although we doubtless share many opinions with our co-contributors.

Let’s start with a quick summary of how Accellera works so that all readers understand the context for this major contribution. The portable stimulus effort started with a Proposed Working Group last year that assessed the interest in a standard and defined a set of more than 100 requirements that such a standard would have to satisfy. Accellera approved the formation of the PSWG and we began meeting in March of this year. We have refined the requirements list and also developed a set of “use cases” showing the sort of real-world verification problems that a standard would have to address.

This brings us to today, in a window where Accellera has issued a call for contributions. Any member company who wishes to contribute technology for consideration as part of the standard is invited to do so during this period. The PSWG is chartered to evaluate all the contributions against the requirements and use cases, select one contribution as the basis for the standard, and then figure out how to merge in essential technology from the other contributions.

As you can imagine, this can be a long and difficult process if multiple contributions with different technologies are made by the member companies. Contributors tend to believe strongly in the virtues of their approach, so spirited and extended technical debates are certain. There have also been cases in which politics complicated the selection and merger processes, usually when member companies placed a high marketing value on being perceived as standards leaders.

The PSWG call for contributions ends next week, on September 16. It has been widely anticipated that multiple independent contributions would be made. Three EDA vendors have products advertised as addressing portable stimulus, so contributions of their technology were expected. Many people in the PSWG, including Breker’s representatives, worried that the result would be a long, drawn-out three-way battle to choose the basis for the standard, following by a long merger period.

We at Breker did not want this to happen. Portable stimulus is an important emerging verification approach that is on the verge of going mainstream. Timely standardization can accelerate the adoption, but a late standard benefits no one. Our colleagues at Cadence and Mentor told us they had a similar perspective, and so we embarked on a series of meetings to see whether we could combine our respective technologies into a single contribution to the PSWG. It was not a simple process, but we were motivated to make it work.

The press release shows that we have succeeded. The three companies will be uploading our joint contribution before the deadline next week. We can’t predict the future, but we fully expect that the development of the standard will be accelerated significantly by this move. In turn, we anticipate wider and faster adoption of portable stimulus in the industry. Accellera encourages exactly this kind of multi-company cooperation in order to produce quality standards in a reasonable timeframe.

So what’s next? Of course there may be other contributors, but we believe that the combined experience of the three vendors with portable stimulus products makes for a compelling choice as the baseline for the standard. There are a lot of smart people from user companies in the PSWG who will help guide the final standard to be one that can be quickly and easily adopted. The standard will likely take at several more months to complete, but we believe that our joint contribution will save many more months.

It is fairly rare in EDA to see direct competitors work together so closely for the benefit of their users as well as their own business interests. When it occurs, it’s a win-win situation. We’d like to thank both Cadence and Mentor Graphics for being open to collaboration. We’re excited about the future of portable stimulus and the value it will bring to the industry. If you agree, disagree, or have any questions, please let us know by posting a comment. Thanks in advance!

Tom A.

The truth is out there … sometimes it’s in a blog.

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