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Verification Horizons Blog

Verification Knowledge Exchange.
In this BLOG you will find posts from the Verification Academy's Harry Foster, Verification Horizon's Tom Fitzpatrick and Standard's Advocate Dennis Brophy and a host of other Verification Horizon Contributors.

The Verification Horizons Blog will provide an online forum for updates on concepts, values, standards, methodologies and examples to assist with the understanding of what advanced functional verification technologies can do and how to most effectively apply them.

Latest blog post: Is Gate-Level Simulation Still Required Nowadays?? by Gordon Allan

Additional blog posts include:

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Mentor Graphics Acquires Flexras Technologies

WILSONVILLE, Ore., January 13, 2015 — Mentor Graphics Corp. (NASDAQ: MENT) today announced that it has acquired Flexras Technologies, a leading developer of proprietary technologies that reduce time required for prototyping, validation, and debug of integrated circuits (ICs) and systems on chip (SoCs).  Flexras timing-driven partitioning technology will expand and strengthen the portfolio of tools available from Mentor to help engineers overcome the challenges of increasingly complex design prototyping.

“We’re extremely pleased to have the Flexras team join Mentor Graphics,” said John Lenyo, vice president and general manager of the Mentor Design Verification Technology Division. “We’re committed to helping our customers reduce the risks and costs associated with design prototyping and Flexras has proven to be a visionary in this area.”

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Upcoming Verification Events

March:

  • Mentor at DVCon 2015 - San Jose | March 2nd

    Mentor Graphics delivers the most comprehensive and unified advanced verification portfolio available: including the Visualizer™ Debug Environment, Questa® for high performance simulation, verification management and coverage closure, low-power verification with UPF, CDC, Formal Verification, accelerated functional coverage, processor-based hardware verification and Veloce® for high-performance system emulation. This comprehensive solution supports UVM and OVM with the most comprehensive online Verification training available from Verification Academy.

    Learn more and register.

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Mentor Graphics Announces New Verification IP for PCIe 4.0

WILSONVILLE, Ore., December 8, 2014 – Mentor Graphics Corp. (Nasdaq: MENT) today announced the immediate availability of its new Mentor® EZ-VIP PCI Express Verification IP. The new Verification IP (VIP) reduces testbench assembly time for ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) design verification by a factor of up to 10X.

Verification IP is intended to help engineers reduce the time spent building testbenches by providing re-usable building blocks for common protocols and architectures.  However, even standard protocols and common architectures can be configured and implemented differently from design to design.  As a result, traditional VIP components can take days, or even weeks, to prepare for a simulation or emulation testbench.

 “When designing with the ARMv8-A architecture and ARM® CoreLink™ cache coherent interconnects in mobile, networking and server SoCs, our partners have a choice of PCIe root complex solutions,” said Jim Wallace, director, systems and software group, ARM®. “ARM® has used Mentor’s PCIe VIP library running on Questa® and Veloce® to help verify critical interactions between PCIe and ARM® AMBA® interface domains to enable rapid deployment and accurate protocol checking.”

Unlike traditional verification IP, Mentor’s new PCIe EZ-VIP is “design-aware,” eliminating several time-consuming steps in the testbench assembly process.  This fast-forwards verification engineers past tedious configuration and implementation set-up tasks, directly to high-value scenario generation, reducing a process that used to take days or weeks to just hours.

“We have been pleased to collaborate with Mentor to support the validation of PCIe EZ-VIP,” said Stephane Hauradou, CTO of PLDA.  “After being one of the first PCIe providers to very quickly develop and introduce PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 controllers to ASIC and verification engineers, PLDA is pleased to combine silicon proven XpressRICH3 and XpressRICH4 IPs with PCIe EZ-VIP as a reliable, highly configurable and easy-to-use complete solution for ASIC project teams.”

“Having easy-to-use, pre-qualified PCIe Verification IP is very important for our customers. We have worked with Mentor to help them validate their PCIe EZ-VIP with our Expresso 3.0 core,” said Brian Daellenbach, president of Northwest Logic. “Consequently, customers can use the Mentor PCIe VIP with our silicon-proven PCI Express cores to create and verify their designs with high confidence.”

Mentor’s PCIe EZ-VIP includes pre-packaged, easy-to-use verification environments for the serial and parallel interfaces of PCIe 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and mPCIe, which can be used to verify PHY, Root Complex and Endpoint designs.  Test plans, compliance tests, test sequences, and protocol coverage are all included as SV and XML source code, allowing simple re-use, extension and debug. The Mentor VIP components also include a comprehensive set of protocol checks, error injection and debug capabilities.

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Verification Cookbook Seminars

Web Seminar Series featuring the Verification Methodology Cookbook.

The Verification Methodology Cookbook is an encyclopedia of Verification Methodology and is utilized by Verification Engineers across the globe to stay current with UVM, OVM and Coverage.

This series of online seminars, will focus on a featured "recipe" guiding users into a deeper understanding of the material.

Web seminar recipes include:

  • UVM Sequences in Depth

    The benefits that UVM provides in specifying modular reusable testbenches have been well documented. Regardless of these benefits, however, the need to adequately model functional coverage, and efficiently create stimuli to reach your coverage goals, remains. The use of UVM sequences allows encapsulation of constrained-random stimulus that can be reused, and virtual sequences allow composition to orchestrate stimuli on multiple interfaces to your DUT.

    This web seminar will introduce you to abstract stimulus specification to provide more effective UVM tests that can be reused throughout your SoC flow and show you how Questa employs intelligent automation to achieve coverage closure faster.

  • UVM 1.2 is Coming, So Be Prepared

    You may have heard there's a new version of UVM that's about to be released. This Verification Cookbook seminar will teach you everything you need to know about the future of UVM. We'll briefly cover the new features included in UVM1.2 and assess their impact on a typical verification environment, including performance and backward-compatibility concerns. We'll then review some UVM Coding Guidelines from the UVM Cookbook that will minimize the impact of these changes and close with a discussion of the UVM standardization process moving forward, including the future of UVM as an IEEE standards.

  • Mentor VIP, More than just a BFM

    Today's advanced UVM environments require more than a standard BFM to support environment reuse, randomized stimulus, generation of traffic scenarios, coverage collection, etc. For UVM environment infrastructure Questa VIP supports the operating modes required for block to top environment reuse as well as transaction monitoring and capturing from interfaces at any level of hierarchy within your design. For stimulus generation Questa VIP provides sequences and scenarios for constrained random generation as well as integration with the inFact algorithmic stimulus generation. For coverage closure Questa VIP also provides coverage models and test plans to help ensure adequate testing. These features allow verification teams to reuse design checking provided by environments and reuse coverage models from block level to top level simulation to accelerate coverage closure.

  • Raising Productivity Using Abstract UVM Stimulus and Intelligent Automation

    The benefits that UVM provides in specifying modular reusable testbenches have been well documented. Regardless of these benefits, however, the need to adequately model functional coverage, and efficiently create stimuli to reach your coverage goals, remains. The use of UVM sequences allows encapsulation of constrained-random stimulus that can be reused, and virtual sequences allow composition to orchestrate stimuli on multiple interfaces to your DUT.

    This web seminar will introduce you to abstract stimulus specification to provide more effective UVM tests that can be reused throughout your SoC flow and show you how Questa employs intelligent automation to achieve coverage closure faster.

  • Automating the Creation of Your UVM Register Model

    The UVM Register Layer is a great way to abstract the interaction between your testbench and your DUT from the pin-level, or even protocol-specific transactions to a generic register-based view of communication. This abstraction provides many benefits, not the least of which is isolating your stimulus generation and coverage modeling from low-level changes in your design (i.e. separating the what from the how). Unfortunately, the benefits of using the register layer come at the cost of having to specify the register models in your testbench to reflect the registers in your hardware. With thousands or even tens of thousands of registers in a typical design, this can be a laborious and error-prone process when done from scratch. This UVM Recipe of the Month will introduce the Register Assistant feature of the Questa Verification Platform and show how it can be used to quickly generate correct-by-construction register models and tests from a register specification.

  • Advanced UVM Debug

    The use of UVM and SystemVerilog to create object-oriented testbenches has magnified the need for a good debugging solution to allow engineers to focus on verifying the design, not fixing problems in the testbench. This web seminar will highlight some new strategies for debugging UVM-based testbenches.

  • Beyond UVM: Effectively Modeling and Analyzing Coverage

    This archived web seminar will outline a comprehensive coverage strategy that will help you implement effective functional coverage for your project. We will begin with a discussion of the different kinds of coverage, and explain how to go from a functional specification to a coverage model, ensuring that your coverage code gives results that are easy to interpret. From there, we will review several examples that illustrate effective functional coverage for various applications, including bus protocol coverage, register-based block-level coverage and datapath coverage.

  • C Based Stimulus for UVM

    This seminar describes a technique in which C stimulus can be applied to the DUT via an existing UVM testbench that contains one or more bus agents. The approach used is to add a C register read/write API for use by C source code, which calls tasks in a SystemVerilog package via the SystemVerilog DPI mechanism to enable the C to make register accesses via the UVM testbench bus agents.

  • Scoreboards and Results Predictors in UVM

    If verification is the art of determining that your design works correctly under all specified conditions, then it is imperative that we are able to create an environment that can tell you if this is truly the case. Scoreboards are verification components that determine that the DUT is working correctly, including ensuring that the DUT properly handles all stimuli it receives. Predictors are components that represent a "golden" model of all or part of the DUT that generate an expected response against which the scoreboard can compare the actual response of the DUT. This online webinar will outline the proper architecture of scoreboards and predictors in UVM and how they relate to coverage.

  • UVM Debug

    UVM class-based testbenches have become as complex as the designs they are meant to verify, and are, in fact, large object-oriented software designs. As such, new debugging techniques and tools must be employed, beyond the usual RTL debugging techniques that designers have used for years. Through a combination of coding techniques (as documented in the DVCon 2012 2nd Place Best Paper, "Better Living Through Better Class-Based SystemVerilog Debug") and the unique debug facilities in the Questa Verification Platform, this online webinar will show you how to maximize your ability debug your testbench so you can get on with the real task of verifying your design.

  • UVM Connect

    UVM Connect is a new open-source UVM-based library that provides TLM1 and TLM2 connectivity and object passing between SystemC and SystemVerilog UVM models and components. Anyone who wants to combine both SystemVerilog UVM and SystemC in a common verification environment should be using UVM Connect. This includes SystemC designers who want to leverage SystemVerilog UVM functionality to add functional coverage and constrained-random stimulus to their verification environment.

  • Introducing UVM Express

    UVM Express is a collection of techniques, coding styles and UVM usages that are designed to increase the productivity of functional verification. Unfortunately for many teams, UVM's reliance on the object-oriented programming (OOP) features of SystemVerilog and advanced features means that the barrier to adoption of UVM is simply too high. UVM Express makes it easier to adopt key pieces of UVM in a much more straightforward manner, while leaving open the opportunity to adopt full UVM in the future.

  • Customization in UVM

    This recipe will review the configuration database feature of UVM and show you how to organize your testbench to maximize flexibility. You'll be shown how to set up configuration objects for your environment and verification components, including setting virtual interfaces to connect to your DUT. Then we'll cover how to use packages to organize parameters and other configuration information to allow an efficient compilation strategy while maximizing flexibility.

  • More UVM Registers

    This recipe will expand on the introductory session delivered in October to discuss how to implement registers and also review score-boarding at the register layer.

  • Introduction to UVM Registers

    The inclusion of the Register Layer was one of the most requested features of UVM. This session will provide an introduction to the Register Layer and show you how to get started writing tests and sequences and checking results at the register layer. We will also show how to use the UVM Register Layer as a standalone package with OVM 2.1.2.

  • Protocol Layering

    Many protocols have a hierarchical definition, and sometimes we may want to create a protocol-independent layer on top of a standard protocol to support the development of protocol-independent components and tests. This session will show how to deconstruct sequence items and sequences across the protocol hierarchy and how to encapsulate each layer to preserve reuse.

  • OVM to UVM Migration

    A step-by-step discussion of how to migrate your OVM code to UVM, including running the transition script, known differences between OVM and UVM and additional steps to take advantage of the new features offered in UVM.

Learn from the contributing authors of the UVM/OVM Online Cookbook and view all of the recipes.

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New Course: Introduction to the UVM

Join Ray Salemi for the latest course addition to the Verification Academy video library - Introduction to the UVM.

This course will guide you from rudimentary SystemVerilog through a complete UVM testbench

  • Overview and Welcome
  • SystemVerilog Primer for VHDL Engineers
  • SystemVerilog Interfaces
  • Packages, Includes and Macros
  • UVM Components and Tests
  • UVM Environments
  • Connecting Objects
  • Transaction Level Testing
  • The Analysis Layer
  • UVM Reporting
  • Functional Coverage with Covergroups
  • Introduction to Sequences

View the new course.

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Mentor Graphics Delivers Veloce Emulation Solutions for the Verification of High-Performance Memory Products

WILSONVILLE, Ore., July 9th, 2014 — Mentor Graphics Corp. (NASDAQ: MENT), a leader in advanced system verification solutions, today announced emulation solutions to accelerate the verification of high-performance memory products that use the latest-generation standards: Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC), LPDDR4, and eMMC 5.0. Using these emulation solutions with the Veloce® emulation platform, designers can test new devices integrated on their System-on-Chip (SoC) designs, and develop and stress-test their software and hardware with billions of verification cycles before silicon is available.

SoC designers require higher memory bandwidth and performance in response to the challenges created with products such as mobile multimedia devices and new networking infrastructure. To address this requirement, Mentor has created models for emerging memory standards that can be accelerated on the Veloce 2 emulator.  The combined solution delivers functionality and performance to meet critical system-level verification needs.

HMC is a 3D-DRAM architecture that can deliver memory bandwidths in excess of 100Gbits/second, or 15 times that of DDR3 memories, while consuming 70 percent less energy/bit than DDR3. HMC is increasingly used to meet the 100Gbit and higher networking application requirements, and is also targeted for higher GPU and CPU bandwidth needs.

The LPDDR4 and eMMC 5.0 memories are complementary technologies used in ultra-mobile products, such as tablets, superphones, and ultrabooks where LPDDR4 is used for DRAM, and eMMC 5.0 is used for mass storage. High bandwidth and performance, low power and cost, and a small form factor are key characteristics that make these memory standards attractive for today’s SoC designers.

All three memory models can now be used by verification engineers, in conjunction with the rest of their SoC design running in the Veloce emulator, in a plug-and-play way that eases their adoption in an accelerated verification environment. In addition, each memory device model is compatible with the Questa® functional verification platform to allow an easy transition from simulation to emulation.

“Our ability to provide industry-leading solutions for the verification of SoC designs containing next-generation memory devices is critical to the success of our customers developing high-performance products,” said Eric Selosse, vice president and general manager, Mentor Emulation Division. “In delivering these new memory device solutions for emulation, Mentor has again demonstrated our leadership as the premier supplier of hardware-assisted products for SoC verification, and our commitment to providing customers with the best-in-class emulation solutions for the latest-generation standards.”

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Mentor Graphics Veloce Emulation Platform Allows Inuitive to Achieve First-Pass Silicon Success

WILSONVILLE, Ore., June 25, 2014 - Mentor Graphics Corp. (Nasdaq: MENT), a leader in advanced system verification solutions, today announced that Inuitive, a developer of innovative  technologies that improve user experiences for latest-generation mobile applications, has achieved first-pass silicon success using the Veloce® emulation platform for System-On-Chip (SoC) verification.

Inuitive’s NUI (Natural User Interface) technology creates 3D depth map and intuitive mobile applications that understand and predict the actions a user wants to perform in any given situation.  Inuitive’s NUI accomplishes this task in a simple and intuitive way. The key components of the technology are Inuitive’s latest multi-core processor chip, NU3000, and their innovative software that improves the usability of various mobile devices, such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones, bringing a new level of user personalization to the device by completing various user tasks with one touch.

“To achieve the level of verification required for our designs, we chose the Veloce emulation platform from Mentor for its superior performance and excellent pre-and-post- silicon hardware-software debug environment,” said Shlomo Gadot, CEO, Inuitive. “Our ability to perform pre-silicon Linux boot was made possible due to the high performance of Veloce, which would have been impractical in software simulation. Additionally, we were able to test our USB software drivers and other chip interfaces extensively prior to silicon being available. Once we received silicon samples, we were able to bring up and test our chips in a matter of days due to the resulting high quality of the design, which is a testament to the high-level of pre-silicon verification we achieved with Veloce.”

“I am very pleased with Inuitive’s success in creating first-pass silicon, and it is gratifying to see how the Veloce platform has been a key part of their hardware-software verification flow for their innovative SoC designs,” said Eric Selosse, vice president, Mentor Emulation Division. “I wish Inuitive more success in the future and look forward to our continued collaboration on SoC verification requirements.”

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Mentor Graphics Veloce 2 Emulation Platform Boosts Verification Productivity for STMicroelectronics

WILSONVILLE, Ore., May 29, 2014  – Mentor Graphics Corp. (Nasdaq: MENT), a leader in advanced system verification solutions, announced today that STMicroelectronics (ST), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has adopted the Veloce® 2 emulation platform to boost productivity in the verification of System-On-Chip (SoC) and Intellectual Property (IP)-based designs.

The Veloce 2 platform delivers a flexible emulation environment capable of handling small and large designs where the platform can be easily and quickly reconfigured to suit the needs of an IP design user or a SoC user. With the Veloce enterprise server features, this is achieved simply and automatically, allowing users to maximize a valuable resource. The Veloce 2 platform allows any user to access one or more of its advanced verification boards, thereby using all hardware resources available across many individuals or groups.

“Since 2009, STMicroelectronics has used Mentor Veloce for the emulation of complete system-level HW/SW verification and validation of many complex SoC platforms. This capability enables us to routinely bring up full-system boot within hours of receiving 28nm SoC silicon. The Veloce 2 platform is now used across our multiple SoC platforms, including our latest HEVC-based consumer SoCs, and the consumer ASICs that we develop with our customers on ST's 28nm fully depleted Silicon-on-Insulator (FD-SOI) process technology,” said Philippe Magarshack, Executive Vice President of Design Enablement and Services at STMicroelectronics. “By pioneering the usage of Veloce 2 as a shareable, global emulation resource, we have significantly improved the productivity and time-to-market of our multiple SoC design teams while maximizing hardware utilization.”

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