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Posts Tagged ‘EDA’

Beginning with the End in Mind: Graphs and Formal

Monday, June 30th, 2014

I’ve written about formal analysis rather frequently in this blog, although I do not consider Breker’s products to be formal in nature. There are several reasons for this. After ten years working with formal tools, I remain personally interested in that market. I also see interesting parallels between the adoption of formal and graph-based technologies. Further, whenever we cover formal analysis we get a great response. Clearly our readers like the topic as well.

I’m returning to formal this week because of a provocative comment made by one of our customers at DAC a few weeks ago. Wolfgang Roesner from IBM participated on the show floor in a Pavilion Panel called “The Asymptote of Verification.” Among several astute observations about the attributes of graph-based scenario models, he made a comparison with formal analysis that I found especially perceptive.

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Final DAC Roundup: Spotting Trends and Catching Frisbees

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Over the last few weeks, we’ve provided a look back at DAC from Breker, Jonah McLeod of Kilopass, and verification consultant Lauro Rizzatti. Today we wind up the series with some great insights and memories from five more DAC exhibitors.

For formal verification services provider Oski Technology, DAC confirmed what it’s experiencing: use of formal adoption is on the rise worldwide, notes Jin Zhang, its senior director of marketing. As is often the case, along with adoption comes the need for training and that’s certainly true for formal verification. Attendees and exhibitors alike stopped by the Oski booth to ask about advanced formal training. Yes, Oski offers several types of training customized to specific needs, and verified that DAC can be a great place to raise awareness and visibility.

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A Fond Farewell to DAC 51 in San Francisco

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

The 51st Design Automation Conference (DAC) has passed into the history books with three days of exhibits and a wide range of enveloping technical sessions and tutorials. After returning home, I’m thinking back over the week fondly as I nurse feet that ache more than I thought possible. Before I get back into the usual work routine, I want to capture some of the impressions and thoughts running through my head.

There is no doubt that  big forces in the industry are aligning toward our view of SoC verification with graph-based scenario models. Many of the people who stopped by our “USS Ice Breker” booth completely understood that they risked hitting an iceberg with their minimal full-chip verification efforts. Some had heard about Breker from colleagues or had seen us listed in Gary Smith’s and John Cooley’s DAC “must see” lists. Others knew little about us but were attracted by our claim as “The SoC Verification Company.” All wanted to know how we can help them.

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DAC is Back! A Preview of the San Francisco Show

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

DAC is back, Jack! The big show returns to San Francisco for two years before heading back to Austin. Last year was a special one for Breker, with our 10th anniversary as a company, the 50th year of DAC, and the first time for the show in Austin, our birthplace. But no location draws more visitors and more buzz than San Francisco. It’s a short train ride from traditional Silicon Valley and arguably part of an extended definition of Silicon Valley that includes a fair chunk of the Bay Area.

This year’s show promises plenty of excitement, and we’d like to fill you in. Of course, we will be there as part of the always lively exhibit floor. Those of you who attended DAC in Austin will surely remember our naval-themed “USS Ice Breker” booth, which we loved so much we’re shipping it to San Francisco. No visit to the DAC exhibits would be complete without stopping by to see Breker in booth 2602 and taking a “cruise” with us. You can request a meeting at a specific time by visiting our DAC signup page.

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Guest Post: DAC, the Industry Marathon to Beat All Industry Marathons

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Many newcomers to Breker’s Web site comment that they are impressed by the quantity and quality of the material located or linked there. For a small company, Breker does publish a lot. Our site links to nearly 250 items from the last two-and-a-half years: conference papers, technical articles, blog posts, press releases, interviews, press coverage, and more. On average, something by or about Breker appears online twice a week, not counting social media alerts or the content hosted on our own site.

Of course this takes a lot of effort by Breker employees, but this level of production would not be possible without the expertise of Nanette Collins, whose marketing and public relations agency has been instrumental in the success of many EDA companies. We thank her for her efforts and welcome her as a guest blogger today. Nanette shares her thoughts on the upcoming (June 2-4) Design Automation Conference (DAC) in San Francisco:

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To Standardize or Not to Standardize, That Is the Question

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

As regular readers know, Breker’s claim to fame is the automatic generation of multi-threaded, self-verifying test cases that run on multiple heterogeneous processors within an SoC. The source for the generation process is a graph-based scenario model that captures the design intent and verification space. We chose graphs as an enabling technology more than ten years ago for a number of reasons, some of which we’ll discuss in this post.

The catalyst for this discussion is a new effort within the Accellera standards body to form the Portable Stimulus Specification Proposed Working Group (PWG). Basically, Accellera has formed a proposed working group to determine whether a technical working group should be established to start developing a specification for a standard. What does this have to do with graphs, and Breker? We’ll do our best to explain the history and current status.

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April 21, 2014: A-Day for Formal Analysis

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Yesterday may well go down in EDA history as one of the most important days in the evolution of the market for formal analysis. If you had asked me why yesterday morning, I would have said it was because I was attending the third “Decoding Formal Club” meeting sponsored by formal consulting experts Oski Technology. The range of companies represented there, and the enthusiasm for the topic, was a clear indication that formal has become an A-list technology for many verification teams.

So I planned to write today’s post about this meeting. But then, just as it was ending and Oski was thanking all the participants, news broke that Cadence had acquired formal leader Jasper Design Automation for $170M. Of course, this news was of intense interest to the attendees. It made yesterday “Acquisition Day” for formal analysis, so I’ll dub it “A-Day” and provide some thoughts in this post. I will talk a bit about the meeting as well, but will go into more details about the material presented in a future post.

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Ruminating about Accelerating, Emulating, and Prototyping

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Last week I published a commentary on the Electronic Engineering Times site about the recent growth in the hardware emulation market. I noted that hardware-based platforms have become almost as big a market as software simulation and that some industry projections see them becoming dominant over the next few years. Of course, our friends at Jasper are predicting that formal will become the dominant verification technology, so it will be fun watching a three-way race.

For this post, I want to dig a bit deeper on hardware platforms in general. Historically, such platforms have been divided into three categories: simulation acceleration, in-circuit emulation (ICE), and FPGA prototyping. The reality is that these are no longer clearly distinct categories; there is a lot of fuzziness and even some overlap. While the market for all three types of hardware platforms is growing, I find that my observations and opinions vary depending upon which specific solution I’m considering.

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Coverage from Running SoC Silicon? How Is That Possible?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

In our last post, we discussed some details of the demo that we showed at the DVCon and SNUG Silicon Valley events, in which TrekSoC-Si generated a test case, downloaded it into a commercial SoC (a TI OMAP4430 with dual ARM cores), and ran it in the actual chip. Our focus last time was on Breker’s unique visualization for the multi-threaded, multi-processor test cases that we generate. Specifically, we provide the same display for a test case running in silicon as we do for one running in simulation or simulation acceleration.

Even more interesting is our ability to display coverage information for test cases running in silicon. You might think that this is impossible unless we’re building coverage structures into the SoC that you fabricate. Customers have been known to build specific types of coverage metrics into their hardware, for example real-time monitoring of bus bandwidth and SoC performance. But that’s not what we’re doing; we can gather highly accurate system-level overage without changing the design a bit.

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Visibility into Running SoC Silicon? Tell Us More!

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

As we mentioned in our last few posts regarding the DVCon and SNUG Silicon Valley events, Breker exhibited at both shows with an identical demonstration. We showed our latest product, TrekSoC-Si, generating a test case, downloading it into a commercial SoC (a TI OMAP4430 with dual ARM cores), and running in the actual chip. This demonstrated our ability to support all verification platforms, from ESL and RTL simulation through acceleration, emulation, FPGA prototyping, and silicon.

This demo attracted quite a bit of interest and some good questions at both shows, so we thought we’d devote this blog post to filling in a few of the details. We especially want to stress that we provide exactly the same level of visualization for a multi-threaded, multi-processor test case running deep inside an actual chip as we do when it’s running in simulation or simulation acceleration.

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