Real Intent – Part II


Real Intent's 3rd Generation Technology Solutions - Ascent, Meridian and PureTime

Recognizing the emerging market needs, in 2009 Real Intent expanded its product portfolio to several key areas by adding lint, X-Verification, Design-for-test (DFT) and constraints management solutions. Given the brand equity established with its second generation products Ascent, Meridian and PureTime, Real Intent decided to leverage these brands to introduce the following product families:




Real Intent Product Families



Ascent Family:


  • Ascent Lint, added to the family in January 2010, offers low-noise and high-performance linting (Footnote [15]). As Dr. Pranav Ashar stated, “Richer HDLs and billion-gate designs have combined to create the need for next-generation linters that understand language semantics and common programming idioms and do more than just syntax checking, all the while still delivering the high speed expected of a linter.”


Existing linters that started out 10 years ago are known for generating large reports that are humanly impossible to parse and for taking a long time to run at the whole chip level. Real Intent, with its roots in the hard formal technology, can easily extend its expertise to lint checking required for today's billion gate designs. Ascent Lint is unique in the industry in terms of delivering this combination of speed, comprehensiveness and configurability.





Ascent Lint Flow Chart



  • Ascent IIV, which is basically the second generation Ascent product with improved functionalities.

  • Ascent XV for X-Verification, which detects X-related bugs efficiently in RTL.

  • Ascent ABV, which is basically the second generation Conquest product rolled under the new Ascent family.


Meridian Family:


  • Meridian CDC, which is based upon the second generation Meridian product with several major improvements and releases in the last 2 years. Meridian CDC version 2.5 released in May 2009 added shell model support for hierarchical analysis, enhanced RAM support and formal analysis of FIFO, improved structural and formal reporting as well as GUI debugging capabilities (Footnote [16]). Meridian CDC version 3.0 released in March 2010 added many new features such as several new check categories related to reset uncertainty, reset propagation, pseudo constants and encapsulation, it also introduced industry only frequency-independent formal analysis which allows comprehensive CDC verification without clock frequency constraints (Footnote [17]).



According to a recent survey to understand how customers view Real Intent and other companies' solutions, all of the respondents rated Meridian CDC as “better” or the “best” CDC tool compared to competition. As stated by one of the respondents, “You guys are great. Awesome support. You guys always want to do things right and do it best”. “Do it right and do it best” has been the spirit of Real Intent and it is reflected in Meridian CDC. The next Meridian CDC release coming out in a few months, the writer was told, would have even greater and exciting features.




Meridian CDC Flow Chart





Many customers rave about Meridian CDC's superior performance and accuracy:

Linming Jin, Director of ASIC PD at Brocade Inc. “Brocade uses Meridian CDC in the design flow to ensure correct clock domain crossing operations. Meridian CDC helped us find scenarios where we missed synchronization, and has also detected glitches in vendor's IP we purchase. It is easy to use. Real Intent has excellent technical support.”





Inwan Choi, Director at Anagran Inc. “Meridian CDC has been a very useful tool in our verification flow. It uncovered many clock crossing issues in our FPGA designs and allowed us to confirm that the fixes were valid. We are pleased with Meridian CDC's superior technology, comprehensive coverage and high performance”.





Peter Teng, Sr., Engineering Manager at NEC (now part of Renesas) “Of all the Clock Domain Crossing (CDC) tools NEC evaluated, Real Intent's Meridian has the least number of false CDC errors (if any at all). Its setup on the clock and reset environment is painless, as it identifies the clock and reset relationship automatically, requiring almost no setup effort from the designer. Meridian is high performance, finishes CDC analysis in minutes. Meridian greatly simplifies designer's task in CDC verification.”





  • Meridian DFT, introduced in May 2010, identifies DFT trouble spots at RTL to allow designers to optimize testability (Footnote [18])


PureTime Family:

  • PureTime Constraints, first introduced in August 2009 (Footnote [19]) and further enhanced in Nov 2010 (Footnote [20]), includes constraints checking, equivalency checking between two constraint scenarios, coverage analysis of single as well as multi-mode designs, and template generation.
  • PureTime Exceptions, which is basically the second generation PureTime product with improved functionalities.





PureTime Family Flow Chart




Concluding Remarks: Defining Principles

When the writer asked Dr. Prakash Narain what in his view makes Real Intent's solutions better than competition, Prakash replied modestly, “It pays to learn hard lessons in life early. In the early years of Real Intent when we were focusing on harnessing the power of formal technology and automating it to make it easy to use for mass designers, we learned a lot about how to extract the real intent of the designs for complete and accurate analysis, how to optimize the formal analysis engines for high performance, how to simplify the user interface and reporting for maximum productivity, and how to architecture the tool flow to enable signoff.

Over the years we have accumulated lots of knowhow and applied these techniques to different applications. For example, Meridian CDC (formerly Verix CIV) has been used in production flows at many companies and has helped tape out thousands of complex designs in the last 8 years. The ultimate goal for our customers is to be able to sign-off on CDC verification. Therefore we have adapted our philosophy and approach to CDC verification based on some basic principles:

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