February 07, 2011
Real Intent – Part II
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Russ Henke - Contributing Editor

by Russ Henke - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!


When the first EDA WEEKLY article on the Sunnyvale, CA EDA software vendor Real Intent was posted by this writer on October 11, 2010, the Company became only the second privately-held EDA enterprise featured in this EDA WEEKLY series that began on November 09, 2009:

With HQ in Palaiseau, France, EVE was the first privately-held EDA company featured, in “ALL ABOUT EVE” on April 26, 2010:

After Real Intent Part I appeared, Portland OR-based Lynguent became the third privately-held EDA entity featured, via a two-part sequence on November 15, 2010 and on December 13, 2010:

In this February 07, 2011 issue, we re-visit Real Intent (knowing full well that EVE will soon be seeking an encore as well).

Real Intent Sunnyvale CA HQ Building

Introduction to Real Intent Part II

The original article on Real Intent may be viewed at the following URL:


That another article on Real Intent might be in the cards, was revealed in this statement in the 1st write-up, ”It became clear during this delightful session with the Real Intent management on August 24, 2010 that there is a lot more to discuss with the people of the Company. It is very possible that a future EDA WEEKLY article will be devoted by this writer to Real Intent.”

Indeed, during the introductory interviews by the writer with Real Intent representatives in August, the discussions were focused on the business history of Real Intent, on its founders, and on several other key people both on the board of directors and inside the Company. For reasons of space limitations, however, the technology and product history of the Company were mentioned only in passing. Accordingly, a later edition of the EDA WEEKLY was planned to fill that gap; this is that article!

While the Company's founders, Dr. Prakash Narain and Mr. Rajiv Kumar serve as CEO and COO of Real Intent, respectively, both also enjoy the great good fortune of remaining deeply involved in the core development of Real Intent's technologies and thereby continue to be equally passionate about the elegance and effectiveness of the solutions that Real Intent brings to the IC design & verification community.


Dr. Narain                                     Mr. Kumar

Herein we will focus on Real Intent's chronological progression through its first, second and third generation of products, so that readers can get a feel for the growth and advantages of Real Intent's underlying technology, and thereby understand one of the main reasons why Real Intent has been successful through the economic downturns of the last decade that have negatively affected many other startups.

In addition to Dr. Narain and Mr. Kumar, to develop this Part II article the writer also depended on conversations with others inside and outside the Company, most named and a few unnamed. In particular, the writer worked closely with Dr. Jin Zhang, Director of Technical Marketing, who first joined Real Intent in 2000. Dr. Zhang's detailed profile was included in the first article on Real Intent posted October 11, 2010. Thank you, Jin!

Dr. Jin Zhang

Real Intent's 1st Generation Technology Solution - Verix

When Prakash and Rajiv started Real Intent (then called 'Validity Design Automation') 12 years ago, their founding premise was 'to develop and market easy-to-use software products that verify, at the earliest opportunity in the design cycle, that a silicon chip's design actually implements the designer's intent.'

The Company achieved just that within two years! On July 4, 2000, Real Intent announced that it was shipping Verix, its first generation solution, which analyzes a chip design's RTL (Register Transfer Level) description, extracts the Implied Design Intent, and verifies the design against the Implied Intent using exhaustive formal sequential techniques (News release at http://www.realintent.com/real-intent-news/2000-07-04). {Note: In the balance of this article, numbered Footnotes are used to designate references, and such Footnotes are collected at the end of the article}.

Verix detects bugs in the design and generates a VCD (Value Change Description) trace to assist debugging, all without the need for a testbench (according to Wikipedia, a testbench is a virtual environment used to verify the correctness or soundness of a design or model). Since chip designers don't need to develop testbenches to run it, Verix can be used as soon as RTL is written, therefore allowing bugs to be found more easily and as a result, significantly reducing the design and verification cycle of a chip.

There you have it - the founding premise of Real Intent.

Verix Intent Driven Verification System

NVIDIA was among the first companies to have adopted Verix. According to Chris Malachowsky, Founder and VP of Engineering of NVIDIA (Santa Clara, CA):

“Given the complexity and sheer size of our 3D processors, effective design verification enhances our ability to deliver products on time. We use Verix to find and eliminate errors early in the design cycle, even before the first testbenches are built. With the combination of its low learning curve and its high coverage and capacity, Verix quickly became a valuable part of our verification methodology. Intent-Driven Verification applied hierarchically across a full-chip's functionality promises to revolutionize design verification.”

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-- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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