EDACafe Weekly Review May 31st, 2016

The UVM Configuration Database
May 31, 2016  by Henry Chan

blog_img_053116_01When I want to wear a certain clothing item, I take out it of the closet. When I go shopping, I add those clothes it to my closet and there are now new items for me to pick out in the future. A database works much the same way, a collection of information that is stored and accessed on demand.


Take the UVM configuration database for example. It basically acts as a repository so that when the time comes, certain portions of the UVM testbench can be obtained from the database and used to build the structure.


When items are placed in the database with a set() method (uvm_config_db::set()), components in lower levels will call the get() method in order to obtain the necessary parts to build the verification framework.


Sharing an interface


If I were to ‘set’ an interface from my top level into the database while simultaneously giving it an identifying name, officially referred to as the ‘field name’, I could later use the field name to retrieve that interface in my driver to connect to the DUT by calling the get() method (uvm_config_db::get()).



Fig. 1) Setting the interface in the configuration database using an identifier ‘my_identifier’



Fig. 2) In order to connect a monitor or driver to the dut, the get() function will need to be called to access the interface in the respective build phase.


Setting up configurations


dac 2016If I wanted to change or modify my testbench structure, I could create a ‘configuration’. In my configuration, I could specify some rules as to what components I want my testbench to have. If I am designing a processor where I’ve already loaded up the memory with instructions, there’s no need to generate stimulus, therefore I could eliminate the driver and sequencer.


This is what UVM refers to as passive and active modes. Passive mode is where only a monitor exists to observe data and active mode is where a driver and sequencer are needed to generate stimulus. Placing certain variables in the configuration database can help to determine whether the testbench is setup as passive or active.


In order to declare the testbench as passive or active, a configuration object is created. The built in uvm_active_passive_enum data type is used to indicate whether the testbench is UVM_ACTIVE or UVM_PASSIVE.



Fig. 3) An example configuration


For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

Vegetarian Dining in Austin – DAC 2016
May 31, 2016  by Sunil Sahoo

Aldec-DAC-Vegetarian-Dining-GuideI moved to Austin a little over a year ago, and have quickly learned that this city is a progressive blue island in a sea of red. That’s the conventional wisdom, and most of the time it holds up.


But there’s one area where this Texas city feels right at home in the rest of the Lone Star State, and that’s the cuisine. Go into the almost any trendy restaurant, and it’s possible to order a meal that has bacon in everything.  Whether it’s the Paleo influence, or the craft food movement, or a remnant of good old Southern cooking, there are a lot of meaty options.


That’s great, you say, except I don’t care how ethically sourced the pork is. Dude, I’m a vegetarian.


Never fear. If you plan to visit our fair city for our industry’s upcoming Design Automation Conference (DAC 2016), rest assured you can find great vegetarian dining options in and around downtown Austin. And while UBER may have left Austin, you can still walk or catch a cab from your hotel or the Convention Center to visit these great restaurants (scroll down for map).


Mainstream Options: You’re a Vegetarian, But the Rest of Your Party Wants Meat


dac 2016A. The Flagship Whole Foods, one mile west of downtown Austin, is a great place for a working lunch. I know, you’re thinking, You want me to eat at a grocery store? This is not just any grocery store, my friend. It is a food bazaar that will absolutely blow you away. Rows of tempting salad bars allow you to compose your own meal, but there are also vegan and vegetarian options at just about every food counter and a pleasant roof-top terrace where you can enjoy your food. Whole Foods Market. 525 North Lamar, Austin, Texas. 512.542.2200. $


B. 24 Diner, like many Austin restaurants, was featured on the Food Network, with the result that this trendy spot can be mobbed. Its allure is comforting food served all night long, with plenty of vegetarian options, like veggie hash, mushroom and veggie burgers, and a variety of tempting salads. 24 Diner. 600 Lamar. 512.472.5400. $$


C. I love the intimacy of Koriente, a Korean health food restaurant with garden dining tucked into a little warren of shops and restaurants at the east end of Sixth Street, right before you hit the I 35 overpass. It was founded by a mom who hated to cook and wanted to make a place where other moms could bring their families for nourishing, healthy, delicious food. Most of the entrees are vegetable based; for a couple extra bucks, add meat and eggs to the mix. But you might want to walk over from your hotel. Parking is at a minimum here. Koriente. 621 East 7th. 512.275.0852. $


D. The Blue Dahlia Bistro is right across the highway in the heart of East Austin, still walking distance from downtown. The restaurant’s promise is that you can “relax and feel like you are in the European countryside.” That might be a tiny stretch, but I have to admit — they do have a truly cozy and inviting outdoor space. They serve yummy French-inspired dishes and have a good selection of vegetarian options, including an all-day breakfast menu. The Blue Dahlia.1115 East 11th Street. 512.542.9542. $


Hardcore and Retro: You Won’t Find Meat on Any of These Plates


E. If you’re looking for a glimpse of the Austin of Slackerfame, venture a few miles north to the University neighborhood of Hyde Park, where Mother’s Cafe has been dishing up family style vegetarian and vegan cuisine since 1980. The restaurant has spruced up with a recent makeover, but they haven’t really changed their menu. There’s nowhere else in town where you can order Mushroom Stroganoff or BBQ Tofu. Ask to be seated in the Garden Room, an Austin tradition. Mother’s Cafe. 4215 Duval. 512.451.3994. $


F. Casa de Luz, located about a half mile from downtown, in the hippest part of East Austin, describes itself as Austin’s “only all-organic dining and community center.” They take good nutrition very seriously here; even the drinking water that serve is filtered to remove fluoride. Each day, they prepare a different menu from scratch, using plant-based foods. That means most of the food they serve is vegan as well. Casa de Luz. 1701 Toomey Road. 512).476.2535. $


G. Mr. Natural lets you enjoy Tex-Mex cuisine without worrying that someone is sticking lard in those beans. The East Austin restaurant is 100 percent vegetarian, and the place also includes a juice bar and a bakery that has won several awards, including “Best Tres Leches” from the Austin Chronicle.That is really saying something: the recipe is vegan. Mr. Natural. 1901 Cesar Chavez. 512.477.5228. $


H. There aren’t a lot of 100 percent vegan options in the Weird City, but East Austin Counter Culturefits the bill. Whenever possible, the chefs here try to use ethically sourced and organic ingredients, and their menu is a combination of classic vegetarian dishes like Lentil Loaf and Mac and Cheeze (the “cheese” made from cashews) and curiosity-inspiring fare such as the Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich. They also serve gluten-free pizza. Counter Culture.2337 East Cesar Chavez. 512.524.1540.


Quick and Trendy Veggie Bites


I. You can’t talk about food in Austin without at least a nod to one of the city’s many food trucks. Arlo’s is the place to go downtown for a late night vegan burger or seiten “chicken” patty. You want fries with that? No problem. Arlo’s. 900 Red River. 512.840.1600. $


J. And for dessert? Lick Honest Ice Creams offers a variety of “weird” flavors — I love the roasted beet and fresh mint — including some vegan options. The staff lets folks sample as many flavors as they like, so the line might move slowly!, Suite 1135. 512.363.5622. $


Well there you have it. You see, if you’re a vegetarian or looking to have a meal with vegetarian colleague or client, Austin has you covered.


I hope you’ll find these tips useful. If you have any other questions about our fair city, please stop by and see me at DAC Booth #619. If you’d like to learn more about Aldec’s Scalable Emulation Solutions or ASIC Verification Spectrum, I hope you’ll register for a one-on-one presentation at DAC, or call +1-702-990-4400 or email us at sales@aldec.com.



For the rest of this article, visit the Aldec Design and Verification Blog.

53dac_logo_mediumOf course, anyone who reads my blog posts on EDACafe knows I have a huge bias toward hardware emulation –– In fact, my blog is called Hardware Emulation Journal! I’ve been a part of this Design Automation market segment since 1995 and continue to believe it is the most versatile of all verification tools.

If you happen to be at DAC and want to learn more about hardware emulation and its growing use models, stop by the Mentor Graphics Booth (#949) Monday, June 6, at 4pm. I’m moderating an hour-long panel of exceedingly qualified verification experts who will help me answer the intriguing question: What’s up with all those new use models on an emulator?

Sitting on the podium with me will be the inimitable Alex Starr from AMD, Guy Hutchinson of Cavium Networks and Rick Leatherman at Imagination Technologies. Guy and I had a conversation earlier this week and I can attest to his enthusiasm and knowledge about hardware emulation.

The four of us agree that hardware emulation is moving into the mainstream and away from the dusty back corners of an engineering department. Its reputation has been rehabilitated as well. That’s because it’s accessible to all types of verification engineers and, fortunately for them, they do not need to be experts in the nuances of emulation. This means that emulation can be used to solve problems that previously were almost too tough to solve, and many verification tasks can be completed more quickly and thoroughly. One easily recognizable example is hardware/software co-verification. Hardware emulation is the only verification tool able to track a bug across the embedded software and the underlying hardware. By all accounts, a big challenge these days.

Another point of agreement is emulation’s horsepower, flexibility and versatility, which suggests we’re moving into the fourth era of emulation where applications rule. In the “apps” era, the emulator becomes the “verification hub” of a verification strategy because it is able to address the end-to-end verification needs of today’s complex designs. Applications extend the use of emulators beyond RTL verification, making it possible to develop new scenarios to target an increasing number of vertical markets, from networking and graphics to automotive and beyond.

Given hardware emulation’s emerging popularity and growing uses, each panelist will be asked to describe the types and sizes of designs he’s asked to debug, along with their applications and the basic verification flow. DAC attendees have noted their interested in hardware emulation’s various deployment modes, so we’ll look at several, including traditional ICE, TBA/TBX and virtual. I’ll ask each panelist to describe which modes they’ve used and the varying degrees of success. We’ll attempt to identify the capabilities lacking in each.

Hardware emulation is being used for some new and, perhaps, unlikely tasks, such as low-power verification, power estimation and design for test. I intend to ask each panelist whether he’s familiar with these new modes and his perspective on the effectiveness of hardware emulation to debug chips with these characteristics.

As you might expect, our goal is to make this panel lively and thought provoking. I predict the panelists will confirm through experience and expertise that it’s much more usable than most commercial verification tools. We will leave room for questions, so please come armed with questions that we can try to answer or stump us.

Please join us. I look forward to seeing you in Austin.

Real Intent is bringing its advanced Ascent and Meridian technology, EDA expertise and espresso energy to the 53rd Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin, Texas, June 5-9, 2016. Before I mention the BEST DAC parties, Real Intent invites attendees to Booth #527 to:

  • Learn the latest information about Real Intent’s Ascent family of tools for the fastest static RTL verification prior to synthesis and simulation, and its Meridian tools that enable CDC and SDC sign-off at the RTL and gate-level.
  • View technical presentations to get up to speed on Real Intent’s latest advancements, proven on giga-gate SoC and FPGA designs. Click here to make an appointment for one of our private suite presentations:
    • How to Accelerate Your RTL Sign-off
    • Ascent Lint with New Visualization and VHDL 2008
    • Meridian CDC with New Analysis and Data-driven Flow
    • Ascent XV with Advanced Gate-level Pessimism Analysis
    • Case Studies in Physical CDC Analysis for Gate-Level Sign-off
    • New Next-Generation Constraints Exception Verification
  • Complete a quick verification survey to be entered into drawings for a cool Roku 4 streaming player and an Amazon Echo wireless speaker and voice commander.
  • Espresso Yourself and enjoy a high-speed coffee from our DeLonghi Magnifica super-automatic coffee machine, to celebrate faster verification and design.
  • Visit Real Intent and OpenText (Booth #638), Real Intent’s “Espresso Yourself” partner at DAC; get a ticket stamped by both companies to enter drawings to win $100 Amazon Gift Cards.
  • Receive a rose as a sweet thank-you gift.

Life is Short: Carpe Eruditio at DAC 2016
May 26, 2016  by Peggy Aycinena


There are clearly a lot of collateral distractions at the Design Automation Conference
: Networking. Social Hours. Parties. Chotzkies. But the real fun at DAC comes from carving time out to attend technical sessions. This is year in Austin, the offerings are particularly rich.

On Sunday, June 5th, my two favorites are: The Workshop on Design Automation for Cyber-Physical Systems, and The Workshop on Computing in Heterogeneous, Autonomous ‘N’ Goal-Oriented Environments. Both of these all-day events feature experts from academia and industry, most speaking for at least 30 minutes. The topics will be very technical and the schedules allow for detailed presentations. Of course, this doesn’t mean the other workshops on Sunday don’t have great merit, but the two I have identified look to be particularly rich opportunities for learning.

Sunday evening, for the first time, there will also be a 2-hour panel focused on Career Perspectives in EDA, a discussion sponsored by CEDA. Although many will be obliged to attend networking dinners on Sunday evening, or will still be busy setting up booths for Monday morning’s Exhibit Hall opening, attending this Career Panel seems an opportunity not to be missed, particularly as it will be moderated by the supremely knowledgeable Bill Joyner from SRC. Admittedly, this is not a technical session, but the implications for the industry are profound. [File under the heading: ‘Concern for an Aging Industry’]


Ten years ago, Rich Weber and Jamsheed Agahi
surveyed an industry they knew well – they each had 10+ years’ involvement in the technology – and found no one was providing hardware/software interface solutions. So in February 2006, they founded a company to “provide good solutions to the industry” and got busy coding. They had their software up and running by DAC, held that year in San Francisco, were featured in the July 2006 issue of EETimes, and were working with their first customers by the end of the year.

Those early successes were an indication of the credibility of Semifore Inc. and a reflection of the singular vision of founders who knew each other well; they had worked with together at various companies prior to 2006, Data General, Silicon Graphics, StratumOne and Cisco Systems. Starting Semifore together was the logical next step in their collaborations. Now ten years on, both founders are still with the company

The Power and Simplicity of Path Constraints
May 25, 2016  by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

Last week on The Breker Trekker, we talked about path constraints and how they differ from other kinds of constraints commonly used in SoC design and verification. Our whole approach to verification is based on graph-based scenario models, and constraints on the paths through the graph are a natural way to control how our Trek family of products automatically generates test cases. It’s easy to eliminate some paths, focus on others, or bias the randomization of selections. We believe that path constraints should be a part of any portable stimulus solution that meets the forthcoming Accellera standard.

We have heard some people in the industry argue that path constraints are not needed, and that value constraints would suffice. While we agree that value constraints are a familiar concept from the UVM and other constrained-random approaches, we do not feel that they are the best way to control the scenarios generated from a portable stimulus model. In today’s post we will expand on the example from last week and show how path constraints can handle a more complex design better than value constraints.

Cliosoft: DAC #519
Real Intent Job

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