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Archive for April, 2018

Shift Left: Verification and Validation are two sides of the same coin

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Verification-and-ValidationVerification and Validation are two sides of the same coin

In 2011, Intel discovered a design flaw in its Sandy Bridge combination graphics-microprocessor chip that led to not only a major production delay but that ultimately cost more than $1 billion in replacement costs and lost revenue. If you’re searching for a clear-cut example as to why finding bugs early in the development process is always a top priority, look no farther than that. A product recall can be a terrible experience for everyone involved, but the costs associated with that recall alone are the stuff that nightmares are made of.

Yet at the same time, the complexity of the modern SoC environment has made things difficult in this regard to say the least. Getting SoC to market (and doing so with quality) is such an enormous task that teams are always looking for newer and more innovative ways to shorten the development time. The situation has also raised the requirement to incorporate verification and validation as a one-step process to catch bugs from an early design stage. Bringing the enormous tasks of verification and validation closer together is great news for the entire semiconductor industry.

This, however, is where the concept of “shift left” enters the conversation. As its name suggests, “shift left” is a series of activities and processes that better position design teams to anticipate and address downstream issues upfront, thus fixing a small problem now before it becomes a much bigger (and more expensive one) tomorrow. It’s the heart of the idea that you should “test early and often.” It also does so in a way that has proven to shorten development times so that no time is wasted late in the process where every second counts.

Why This Matters

But before we can focus on the importance of “shift left,” we must first address the early stages of this process in general. Verification and Validation are two critical steps in the creation of electronic systems, but over the last few years, in particular, their roles (and how those roles relate to one another) has changed.

In the modern era, there is an urgent need to enable users to describe the programming and test sequences of a device in a way that automatically generates sequences ready to use from an early design and verification stage, all the way up through post-silicon validation.

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