EDACafe Weekly Review June 25th, 2015

Reset Expectations with X-Propagation Analysis
June 25, 2015  by Lisa Piper, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at Real Intent

The propagation of unknown (“X”) states has become a more pressing issue with the move toward billion-gate SoC designs, and especially so with power-managed SoC designs. The SystemVerilog standard defines an X as an “unknown” value used to represent the state in which simulation cannot definitely resolve a signal to a “1,” a “0,” or a “Z.”

Synthesis, on the other hand, defines an X as a “don’t care,” enabling greater flexibility and optimization. Unfortunately, Verilog RTL simulation semantics often mask the propagation of an X value, while gate-level simulations show additional Xs that will not exist in real hardware.

The sheer complexity and common use of power management schemes increase the likelihood of an unknown “X” state in the design translating into a functional bug in the final chip. This possibility has been the subject of two technical presentations at the Design and Verification Conference during the last couple of years: I’m Still in Love With My X! But, Do I Want My X to Be an Optimist, a Pessimist, or Eliminated? and X-Propagation Woes: Masking Bugs at RTL and Unnecessary Debug at the Netlist. Let’s look more closely at this issue and the requirements for a solution.

Sonics: Busy Days, Dark Silicon Knights
June 24, 2015  by Peggy Aycinena


These last several months have been busy for Sonics: Release of the latest edition of the company’s “flagship” NoC, SonicsGN 3.0, featuring Sonics’ interleaved multi-channel technology; Release of Version 8.0 of SonicsStudio, the company’s SoC development environment with “improvements for designer productivity and power analysis”; Announcement of Sonics’ ICE-Grain Power Architecture, “a complete power management sub-system comprised of configurable hardware IP blocks, embedded control software, and integrated design tool environment”.

Of the three announcements, the last is the most profound, offering a better, smarter technique for building power management into systems that include Sonics IP. Power is of great concern to anyone working in silicon today, and of even greater concern to those whose business model includes selling both IP and services to the industry.

Drew Wingard, distinguished co-founder & CEO of Sonics, is one of those concerned, articulating the situation in detail on Monday, June 8th, at DAC where he addressed an SRO audience of 150+ technologists anxious to learn more about low power IP. Proving himself one of Sonics’ true Dark Silicon Knights, the following is a snapshot of Wingard’s comments.

Is the Forecast Cloudy Yet for EDA?
June 24, 2015  by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

It has been almost exactly two years since we discussed the possibility of EDA tools in the cloud here on The Breker Trekker. The post was popular then, and it remains so. In fact, of the more than 100 posts we’ve published, our cloud post remains the second most read. This week, the recent news that IBM will make its EDA tools available in the cloud through a partnership with SiCAD brought cloud computing back to the forefront. Let’s discuss what has changed–and what hasn’t–in the past two years.

The idea of users being able to run EDA tools as leased enterprise software on remote machines has been around for years, well before the term “the cloud” was widely used. Synopsys invested a great deal of time and effort into its DesignSphere infrastructure, initially more of a grid application than a cloud solution as we use the term today. But the difference is not very important; the key concepts are the same and they represent a major departure from the time-tested model of customers “owning” EDA tools and running them in-house.

Last Call for Kaufman Award Nominations
June 23, 2015  by Graham Bell

The EDA Consortium and the IEEE Council on EDA is seeking qualified nominations for the 2015 Phil Kaufman Award.  The nomination deadline is June 30.

Presented by the EDA Consortium and the IEEE Council on EDA, this prestigious award honors an individual who has had demonstrable impact on the field of electronic design through contributions in Electronic Design Automation.  PressRelease.

Additional information on the nomination process is available here.

Information on previous Phil Kaufman Award recipients is available here.

Download the nomination form here.

Unbroken, 73 Bugs Captured!
June 19, 2015  by Dr. Jin Zhang

The story of Louis Zamperini, as told by Laura Hillenbrand in “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”, is a great testimony of the strength of human spirit. Going through unimaginable catastrophes, including drifting 47 days on the open sea with leaping sharks, thirst, starvation, and machine gun attack from a bomber plane, as well as enduring 3 years under severe and brutal conditions as a POW in Japan, Zamperini emerged unbroken with grace, humanity and love.

This is such an inspiring story that when I thought about writing about Oski DAC 2015 “Break the Testbench” Challenge results, the word “unbroken” came to mind. While this is no comparison in its scale to the story of Zamperini, the word “unbroken” succinctly summarizes the challenge result.

S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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