Posts Tagged ‘systemc’

25 February, 2014

As DVCon expands, we at Mentor Graphics have grown our sponsored sessions as well.  Would you expect less?

In DVCon’s recent past, it was a tradition for the North American SystemC User Group (NASCUG) to sponsor a day of activity before the official start of the conference.  When OSCI merged with Accellera, the day before the official conference start grew to become Accellera Day with a broader set of meetings and activities covering many of Accellera’s standards.  This has all grown into a more official part of the DVCon program.  On Monday at DVCon – or as many still call it – Accellera Day – the tradeshow now joins in opening.  I covered this in detail in an earlier blog, so I won’t repeat myself now.

The pre-conference education and meet-up to discuss the latest in standards development is joined by an end of conference tutorial series that has expanded to allow four parallel sessions from three.  Instead of the one tutorial we at Mentor Graphics would otherwise sponsor at DVCon, we will offer two in this expanded series. Given the impact verification has on design it would seem right that more time be devoted to topics that address this.  One half-day tutorial is just to short to give the subject its due respect.

The two Mentor Graphics sponsored tutorials at DVCon, to be run in series, will devote a day to explore the application of current verification technology by us and users like you.  If you are already attending DVCon, you are making your tutorial selections now.  And for those who might only be interested to attend the tutorials themselves, DVCon offers a tutorials-only package ($145/Tutorial).  Mentor’s two tutorials are:

The first tutorial references “smooth sailing,” not because this will be a “no-pirate zone,” although I can tell you that since International Talk Like a Pirate Day is in late September, one won’t have to worry about a morning of pirate talk! [Interesting Fun Fact: Mentor Graphics’ headquarters in Wilsonville, OR USA is a short 50 miles (~80 km) north of the creators of this parotic holiday.]  The smooth sailing comes from the ability to easily use multiple engines from simulation, formal, emulation, FPGA prototyping to address your block to system-level verification needs.

The second tutorial is all about formal.  Or, in a more colloquial way to say it, we will answer the question: Whatsup with formal?  No, I doubt we will find more slang terms for formal technology being used and created in the tutorial.  But the tutorial will certainly look at more focused applications of formal technology.  As a pioneer in focused formal applications (like clock domain crossing) the creation of these focused formal applications has greatly simplified use and expanded technology access to verification teams with RTL design checks, X-state verification, and more joining the list.  Maybe we should ask Whatsapp with formal! But wait!  That slang question is already taken – and Facebook affirmed ownership with a $19B purchase of it recently.  Oh well, I lament.  Join me at this tutorial and we can explore something suitable and not yet taken as a replacement.  I can’t think of a better way to close DVCon than to see if we can invent another $19B term (or app).

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11 February, 2014

DVCon 2014 LogoOne of the nice things about DVCon is the update one can get from the developers of IEEE and Accellera standards.  And this year’s DVCon is no exception.  The four days of DVCon begin and end with tutorials that cover updates to popular standards like UVM, UPF, SystemC and more.  For our part, Mentor Graphics is participating in the development and delivery of these updates with our peers.

UVM LogoI have written in the past about the productivity challenges before us to address the verification crisis and the emergence of machine-to-machine communication and the Internet of Things driving power aware design and verification.  To advance the demands on improved verification and help to address the verification crisis, the next round in the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) standard is being readied for industry adoption.  UVM 1.2, the emerging update will be covered in some detail in a Monday morning tutorial to help you learn “What’s Now and What’s Next.”  Mentor Graphics’ Tom Fitzpatrick and Accellera Working Group representative will present in this tutorial.

UVM 1.2 is an active development project of Accellera and has not yet been released so there is no official standard available for download and use yet.  I’ll share standardization details as they happen.

At the same time on Monday, those who are concerned with power aware design and verification can attend the tutorial on the Unified Low Power Format (UPF), or as it is officially called IEEE 1801™-2013.  The tutorial will cover the full spectrum of UPF capabilities and methodology from basic to advanced applications.  So if you are new to UPF and want to learn, this is a great tutorial to attend.  And if you are already an expert, the advanced application of UPF as highlighted by those companies who have adopted UPF make this valuable for you as well.  Mentor Graphics’ Erich Marschner and IEEE 1801 Working Group vice-chair will participate in this tutorial.

UPF is an official IEEE standard.  Have you downloaded your copy yet?  Accellera has worked with the IEEE to make no-charge access to the official standard for you.  You can find the UPF standard here.

In the afternoon, there will be a session on case studies in SystemC.  User and vendor presentations will explore use of this standard.  SystemC offers much in the verification space, not just in technology but learning on how to bridge the RTL world with transaction level modeling world.  Mentor Graphics’ John Stickley will review what we have learned and how you can apply it to your most pressing verification needs.

SystemC is an official IEEE standard.  Have you downloaded your copy yet?  Under the Accellera agreement with the IEEE, you can download SystemC standard here.

There is a lot more to DVCon than just the use of current standards and planning adoption of emerging standards.  I encourage you to check out the whole agenda and join me at DVCon 2014 March 3-6.

Mentor Graphics presentations during the conference include:

  • Tuesday Paper Sessions
    • Amit Srivastava – Stepping Into UPF 2.1 World: Easy Solution to Complex
      Power Estimation
    • Kenneth Bakalar – Interpreting UPF For A Mixed-Signal Design Under Test
    • Gordon Allan – Tried and Tested Speedups for Software-Driven SoC Simulatio
  • Tuesday Poster Sessions
    • Rich Edelman – Debugging Communicating Systems: The Blame Game – Blurring
      the Line Between Performance Analysis and Debug
    • Matthew Balance – Tackling Random Blind Spots with Strategy-Driven Stimulus Generation
    • Gaurav K. Verma – Supercharge Your Verification Using Rapid Expression Coverage as the Basis of a MC/DC-Compliant Coverage Methodology
    • Andreas Meyer – So You Think You Have Good Stimulus: System-Level Distributed Metrics Analysis and Results
    • Rich Edelman – UVM SchmooVM – I Want My C Tests!
    • Thom Ellis – Are  You Really Confident That You Are Getting the Very Best From Your Verification Resources?
    • Jitesh Bansal – Is Your Power Aware Design Really X-Aware
  • Wednesday Paper Sessions
    • Avidan Efody – Wiretap Your SoC: Why Scattering Verification IPs Throughout Your Design Is A Smart Thing To Do
    • Tom Fitzpatrick – Of Camels and Committees: Standards Should Enable Innovation, Not Strangle It

Mentor Graphics will host its traditional lunch at DVCon on Wednesday on the theme of Accelerating Verification.  And we have lively panel participants for the Tuesday and Wednesday panels.  And, as always, the Exhibit, CEO Keynote and Panels are open to all a no charge – you just have to REGISTER!

I look forward to seeing you there!

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4 October, 2013

We are truly living in the age of SoC design, where 78 percent of all designs today contain one or more embedded processors.  In fact, 56 percent of all designs contain two or more embedded processors, which brings a whole new level of verification challenges—requiring unique solutions.

A great example of this is STMicroelectronics who recently shared their experience and solution in addressing verification challenges due to rising complexity. In 2012, STMicroelectronics began a pilot project to build what it called the Eagle Reference Design, or ERD. The goal was to see if it would be possible to stitch together three ARM products — a Cortex-A15, Cortex-7 and DMC 400 — into one highly flexible platform, one that customers might eventually be able to tweak based on nothing more than an XML description of the system.

Engineers at STMicroelectronics sought to understand and benchmark the Eagle Reference Design. To speed this benchmarking along, they wanted a verification environment that would link software-based simulation and hardware-based emulation in a common flow.

Their solution was unique, and their story worth reading. They first built a simulation testbench that relied heavily on verification IP (VIP). Next, the team connected this testbench to a Veloce emulation system via TestBench XPress (TBX) co-modeling software. Running verification required separating all blocks of design code into two domains — synthesizable code, including all RTL, for running on the emulator; and all other modules that run on the HDL portion of the environment on the simulator (which is connected to the emulator). Throughout the project, the team worked closely with Mentor Graphics to fine-tune the new co-emulation verification environment, which requires that all SoC components be mapped exactly the same way in simulation and emulation.

Because the reference design was not bound to any particular project, the main goal was not to arrive at the complete verification of the design but rather to do performance analysis and establish verification methodologies and techniques that would work in the future. In this they succeeded, agreeing that when they eventually try this sort of combined approach on a real project, they will be able to port the verification environment to the emulator more or less seamlessly.

This is a great success story worth reading on how STMicroelectronics combined Questa simulation, Mentor verification IP (VIP), and Veloce emulation to speed up their benchmarking verification process. Check out the full story here!

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5 August, 2013

Language and Library Trends

This blog is a continuation of a series of blogs that present the highlights from the 2012 Wilson Research Group Functional Verification Study (for a background on the study, click here).

In my previous blog (Part 7 click here), I focused on some of the 2012 Wilson Research Group findings related to testbench characteristics and simulation strategies. In this blog, I present design and verification language trends, as identified by the Wilson Research Group study.

You might note that for some of the language and library data I present, the percentage sums to more than one hundred percent. The reason for this is that some participants’ projects use multiple languages.

RTL Design Languages

Let’s begin by examining the languages used for RTL design. Figure 1 shows the trends in terms of languages used for design, by comparing the 2007 Far West Research study (in gray), the 2010 Wilson Research Group study (in blue), the 2012 Wilson Research Group study (in green), as well as the projected design language adoption trends within the next twelve months (in purple) as identified by the study participants. Note that the design language adoption is declining for most of the languages with the exception of SystemVerilog whose adoption continues to increase.

Also, it’s important to note that this study focused on languages used for RTL design. We have conducted a few informal studies related to languages used for architectural modeling—and it’s not too big of a surprise that we see increased adoption of C/C++ and SystemC in that space. However, since those studies have (thus far) been informal and not as rigorously executed as the Wilson Research Group study, I have decided to withhold that data until a more formal blind study can be executed related to architectural modeling and virtual prototyping.

Figure 1. Trends in languages used for Non-FPGA design

Let’s now look at the languages used specifically for FPGA RTL design. Figure 2 shows the trends in terms of languages used for FPGA design, by comparing the 2012 Wilson Research Group study (in red) with the projected design language adoption trends within the next twelve months (in purple).

Figure 2. Languages used for Non-FPGA design

It’s not too big of a surprise that VHDL is the predominant language used for FPGA RTL design, although we are starting to see increased interest in SystemVerilog.

Verification Languages

Next, let’s look at the languages used to verify Non-FPGA designs (that is, languages used to create simulation testbenches). Figure 3 shows the trends in terms of languages used to create simulation testbenches by comparing the 2007 Far West Research study (in gray), the 2010 Wilson Research Group study (in blue), and the 2012 Wilson Research Group study (in green).

Figure 3. Trends in languages used in verification to create Non-FPGA simulation testbenches

The study revealed that verification language adoption is declining for most of the languages with the exception of SystemVerilog whose adoption is increasing. In fact, SystemVerilog adoption increased by 8.3 percent between 2010 and 2012.

Figure 4 provides a different analysis of the data by partitioning the projects by design size, and then calculating the adoption of SystemVerilog for creating testbenches by size. The design size partitions are represented as: less than 5M gates, 5M to 20M gates, and greater than 20M gates. Obviously, we find that the larger the design size, the greater the adoption of SystemVerilog for creating testbenches. Yet, probably the most interesting observation we can make from examining Figure 4 is related to smaller designs that are less than 5M gates. Here we see that 58.8 percent of the industry has adopted SystemVerilog for verification. In other words, it is safe to say that SystemVerilog for verification has become mainstream today and not just limited to early adopters or leading-edge design projects.

Figure 4. SystemVerilog (for verification) adoption by design size

Let’s now look at the languages used specifically for FPGA RTL design. Figure 5 shows the trends in terms of languages used for FPGA design, by comparing the 2012 Wilson Research Group study (in red) with the projected design language adoption trends within the next twelve months (in purple).

Figure 5. Trends in languages used in verification to create FPGA simulation testbenches

In my next blog (click here), I’ll continue the discussion on design and verification language trends as revealed by the 2012 Wilson Research Group Functional Verification Study.

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25 February, 2013

Download the standard now – at no charge!

The IEEE has published the latest update to the SystemVerilog standard.  And courtesy of Accellera, the standard is available for download without charge directly from the IEEE.

1800-2012 1

The latest update to the SystemVerilog standard is now ready for download.  It joins other EDA standards, like SystemC in the IEEE Get™ program that grants public access to view and download current individual standards at no charge as a PDF.  (If you wish to have an older, superseded and withdrawn version of the standard or if you wish to have a printed copy or have it in a CD-ROM format, you can purchase older and alternate formats from IEEE for a fee.)

Over the years Accellera came to understand that many people continued to use the freely available version that seeded the initial IEEE 1800 SystemVerilog standard.  Since it is significantly out of date, Accellera collaborated with the IEEE Standards Association to ensure the latest version of the SystemVerilog standard would be freely available in electronic form to all whom wish to download it.  Accellera now hopes all those old 3.1a versions that everyone has and uses can now be placed in the archives.

The new version of standard should be used by the UVM (Universal Verification Methodology) community as the definitive specification of the SystemVerilog standard upon which UVM is built.   It goes very well with the UVM Cookbook and the Coverage Cookbook.

From Mentor’s perspective, it also makes a good companion to the Questa verification platform and complements our latest product update in which we announced support for the IEEE 1800-2012 SystemVerilog standard among other things.

If you have not done so already, download your copy now by clicking here.

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10 September, 2012

OVM Bridges SystemVerilog and SystemC Languages

When UVM Connect was first released, the multilingual connection between IEEE Std. 1800™ (SystemVerilog) and IEEE Std. 1666™ (SystemC) standards bridged the two languages to allow design and verification engineers to access UVM from SystemC or SystemVerilog to exploit native languages advantages.  OVM users wondered if it was possible to support them as well since OVM is a derived from UVM.

It is possible and UVM Connect has been extended to allow OVM users to enjoy the same benefits.  An update to UVM Connect now allows it to be compiled to run with the OVM.  And since the extensions are based on IEEE standards, they can be used in your simulator of choice.

OVM Thrives

The thriving OVM community is of no surprise.  Last year, Harry Foster blogged about research on the use and adoption of verification methodologies.  The research was done after UVM was established as an Accellera standard, and showed OVM continued its leading position as shown in one of the charts from Harry’s blog (see below).  The chart even showed OVM was predicted to have a modest growth in adoption as well.

Mentor continues to bring many of the UVM additions back to the OVM user community in a way that does not disturb the upgrade path from OVM to UVM.  The major addition to UVM in the first round of Accellera standardization was the addition of a register and memory package.  This was back ported to OVM.  (The OVM register and memory kit can be found here, if you are interested.)  Now, UVM Connect has been extended to provide full OVM use.

Download

The UVM Connect 2.2 kit supports multilingual use of OVM and can be found at the Verification Academy and the Accellera UVM World contributions download site.

If you find issues or have other suggestions that we should consider, you can always share your input at the OVM Forum or UVM Forum.  In addition to interacting with other users, the Verification Academy is a good site for online resources like the UVM/OVM Cookbook, basic and advanced OVM/UVM training, and more.

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16 July, 2012

Open-Source Proof-of-Concept Library Released

Accellera Systems Initiative has released for general industry use an open-source proof-of-concept library as a companion to the recently minted IEEE Std. 1666™-2011, SystemC Language Reference Manual standard

In November 2011, the IEEE Standards Association approved IEEE Std. 1666-2011.  The completed and published standard was made available to the community as a whole for free in an agreement between Accellera Systems Initiative and the IEEE Standards Association in February 2012.   As a reminder, you can download your personal copy of IEEE 1666 here for free.

IEEE 1666-2011In the nearly 6 months since this version of the standard has been available about 7,000 copies have been downloaded under the IEEE Get program.

The previous version was also made available for free download and was just as popular as this version of the standard is.

1666-2011_Page_001While the approved standard was being made ready for publication, Accellera Systems Initiative was also busy completing the open-source proof-of-concept library.  After taking comments and feedback from a public review process, version 2.3.0 of the library was completed and is now available.

IEEE 1666-2011 added a number of important new features, including support for transaction-level modeling (TLM) that has proven to be an important element to enable high-level design and is a key component upon which the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) is built from.

For those who want to used the SystemC library directly, it is now available for wide industry access.

Download Resources

The downloads from the IEEE and Accellera Systems Initiative will require some license agreement approvals.  The links are not one-click access to the material below.

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30 May, 2012

Where might our paths cross?

It is always challenge to fit all the needed visits in during the Design Automation Conference (DAC).  If you happen to like some of the same events I attend, then the chances are good our paths might cross in public.

Saturday and Sunday are busy with an Accellera Systems Initiative board meeting.  Split across two days, Accellera board members will meet to conduct traditional business and  do some strategic planning in which each board member outlines what they aspire the goals and objectives for the group should be in the coming year.  Intel has graciously granted space in their San Francisco offices, so I won’t be around the Moscone Center during the pre-conference setup phase.  (By the way, Thank you Intel!)

dac logoAfter we close the Accellera board meeting on Sunday, I plan to attend the pre-DAC events on Sunday that include the EDAC reception (registration required) at 6:00pm  (San Francisco Marriott, Salon 7) and Gary Smith’s “Sunday Night at DAC” at 7:00pm (San Francisco Marriott, Salon 6).

During the conference I will spend most of my time at the Mentor Graphics Verification Academy Booth  #1514 and on Wednesday split my time between there and the Accellera Systems Imitative meetings.  And just in case you may note that most of my evenings are not scheduled, they are with customer activities.

MentorGraphics-LogoWhen the show floor is open, you will find me most of the time at the Verification Academy Booth #1514.  I will join Mentor’s Harry Foster there were user and partner presentations will be done on UVM applications, updates on Harry’s research results, updates on important verification standards from Mentor’s perspective and more.  You are invited to join other verification experts for the Tuesday evening cocktail reception at the Verification Academy Booth.  (And the cocktail hour may be just the thing that tis needed before the annual DAC Birds-Of-A-Feather meetings begin to help the conversations start.)

Verification Academy DAC Schedule

Monday, June 4th Tuesday, June 5th Wednesday, June 6th
10:00Simulation and Formal Assertion-Based Verification
Harry Foster, Mentor Graphics
9:30Using the UVM Register Layer
John Aynsley, Doulos
10:00Bringing UVM to Life
Ellie Burns, Mentor Graphics
11:00Bringing UVM to Life
Ellie Burns, Mentor Graphics
10:00Generating Coverage Models and Achieving Coverage Closure
Mark Olen, Mentor Graphics
11:00Resistance is Futile: Learning to love UVM!
Mike Bartley, Test & Verification Solutions
2:00Verification of Low Power SoCs with IEEE UPF
Stephen Bailey, Mentor Graphics
2:00Bringing UVM to Life
Ellie Burns, Mentor Graphics
2:00Automating Assertion Based Verification with NextOp and Mentor Graphics
Yunshan Zhu, NextOp
3:00 - Evolving Trends in Functional Verification
Harry Foster, Mentor Graphics
3:00 - Evolving Trends in Functional Verification
Harry Foster, Mentor Graphics
3:00UVM Express
Mike Baird, Willamette HDL, Inc.
4:00An Introduction to AMBA 4 AXI Coherency Extensions (ACE) and Verification Challenges
Paul Martin, ARM
4:00 - Evolving Trends in Functional Verification
Harry Foster, Mentor Graphics
5:00 - Using Rules-Based Integration to Develop a SoC-Level UVM Verification Environment
David Murray, Duolog
5:00 – Meet the Verification Experts Cocktail Reception

Accellera logo_color_200x111 - CopyAccellera Systems Initiative will host a set of meetings on Wednesday starting with a luncheon to roll out the Unified Coverage Operability Standard (UCIS).  The lunch is free and seating is limited and registration is required.

Hosted Luncheon and Technical Presentation

Accellera Systems Initiative Rolls Out the Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard


Speaker: Dr. Richard Ho, Co-Chair of the UCIS Technical Subcommittee

Wednesday, June 6, 12:00-1:30pm
Moscone Center, Room 250
Register Now >
This luncheon is open to all DAC attendees. Seating is limited! You must pre-register for this event.

Coverage metrics are critical to measuring and guiding design verification. As designs have grown, increasingly advanced verification technologies, methods and additional metrics have been designed to form a fuller coverage model. There is currently no single metric that consistently and globally tells engineers the exact status of verification. But one step in the right direction is to bring all types of coverage metrics into a single database that can be accessed in an industry standard way. The UCIS facilitates the creation of a unified coverage database that allows for interoperability of coverage data across multiple tools from multiple vendors.

This presentation, intended for verification managers and tool developers alike, provides an introduction to and overview of the UCIS and how users plan to utilize it to enhance their verification flows. We provide a survey of many of the commonly-used coverage metrics and how they are modeled in the UCIS. The information that users will be able to access through the UCIS will allow them to write their own applications to analyze, grade, merge and report coverage from one or more databases from one or more tool vendors. We will also discuss the XML-based interchange format of UCIS, which provides a path to exchange coverage databases without requiring a common code library between tools and vendors.

SystemC User Group Meeting

NASCUG XVIII

North American SystemC User’s Group Meeting
Wednesday, June 6, 2:00-6:00pm
Moscone Center, Room 262
Register Now >
This event is open to all DAC attendees. Seating is limited!

The North American SystemC Users Group (NASCUG) provides a unique forum for sharing SystemC experiences and knowledge among industry, research and universities. The agendafor the event has a lot offer user group attendees.

Mentor’s Adam Erickson will present An Open-Source, Standards-Based Library for Achieving Interoperability Between TLM Models in SystemC and SystemVerilog.  Adam’s presentation is scheduled to start at 3:00pm.

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22 February, 2012

In his recent post on UVM: Some Thoughts Before DVCon, Dennis outlined some great ideas about what we think should happen next for UVM. His 3rd point, “UVM needs to bridge the system domain,” is particularly relevant given the newly-formed Accellera Systems Initiative. This is actually an area we’ve been contemplating for a while here at Mentor, and as Dennis indicated, we shared our thoughts on this topic at our last face-to-face with the VIP-TSC.  With demand coming from our users, and some positive feedback on our proposal, we have just released UVM Connect, an open-source library that provides TLM1 and TLM2 connectivity and object passing between SystemC and SystemVerilog models and components, as well as a UVM Command API for accessing and controlling UVM simulation from SystemC (or C or C++).

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You can find much more information on the UVM Connect page of Verification Academy.

Mentor has always believed that SystemVerilog and SystemC each have their own strengths and that the most productive way to combine them in a system-level environment is to preserve the strengths of each while allowing the free exchange of data between them. Instead of trying to re-implement UVM in SystemC, or to extend SystemC to try and recreate SystemVerilog functional coverage or constrained-random stimulus, UVM Connect provides the framework needed to interoperate between languages. This lets you:

  • Reuse your SystemC architectural models as reference models in UVM verification
  • Reuse your stimulus generation agents in SystemVerilog to verify models in SystemC
  • Have access to a wider array of VIP since you are no longer confined to a single language
  • Utilize and interact with the UVM infrastructure from SystemC, including wait for and control UVM phase transitions, set and get configuration, issue UVM-style reports, set factory type and instance overrides, and more

UVM Connect provides object-based data transfer across the language boundary via TLM1 and TLM2 interfaces, which are natively supported in both languages. It works out-of-the-box with UVM 1.1a and later and lets you use your existing TLM models, regardless of language, in a mixed-language context without modification. In a nutshell, UVM Connect fulfills the principles and purpose of the TLM interface standard, letting you design independent models that communicate without directly referring to each other. The models thus work equally well in both native and mixed-language environments.I encourage you to download the kit and give it a try. In the spirit of “co-op-etition” I also encourage our competitors to qualify the library on their simulators.

In addition to the great material in the UVM/OVM Online Methodology Cookbook on Verification Academy, the kit also includes an HTML User’s Guide, based on extensive, well-documented examples, that includes detailed information on all aspects of the API. Please make sure to stop by the Mentor booth at DVCon and let us know what you think.

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17 February, 2012

It is time to talk about what happens next with UVM

uvm 2The Design and Verification Conference (DVCon) has become the premier event to discuss front-end design issues with an emphasis on verification.  If one listens to the Conversation Central interview of DVCon leadership it is clear how singularly important DVCon is.  As one of the three organizers of the UVM Tutorial on Monday, I know the conference organizers had to rearrange the room layout to accommodate a greater than expected number of registrant.  It is clear how important the topic of verification is and UVM in particular has become.

It seems to me that DVCon is the right place to discuss what comes next with UVM.  I have three thoughts about UVM that I think merit discussion.

1. UVM needs a period of stability

While the experts at the Accellera Verification IP Technical Subcommittee (VIP-TSC) standardization table (all good people) continue to hone UVM and debate a few more features they need, they have been unable to make significant progress on those features since last DVCon.  The one major item promised beyond OVM, an update to phasing, remains an open topic.  Mentor has suggested in committee that we allow another year to pass and suspend committee action on this.  Maybe the natural market forces would allow several options to surface, be user-tested and then merit consideration by the VIP-TSC.

This is in keeping with Karen Bartleson’s 9th Commandment for Effective Standards: “Start with Donations; Not From Scratch.”  This is what is happening now with Phasing.  The design by committee process is moving slowly.  It is not the slow part that concerns me, however.

Completing the “last” thing has many in the verification community waiting until it is done before they migrate and adopt UVM.  The best thing the committee could do to encourage use is to give the users certainty that UVM will not change in the next 12 months.  At the same time, the committee could commit to take input from users at the end of those 12 months as a guide to what it does next.

2. UVM needs a simple path to first use

Accellera has an approved and published standard, an open-source implementation and embedded UVM User’s Guide.  This is a lot to digest.  And while one may expect the User’s Guide to help, it calls the reader to supplement it with “education, experience and professional judgment.”  It warns that “not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances.”

Users should be offered an unambiguous, easy-to-use and understand means to adopt UVM without having to know everything about it before starting to use it.  UVM was not made for just those who have large verification teams and central CAD groups.  Those large teams are the ones who are already using UVM.  The first step to UVM adoption for the rest of the world should not be too high as it currently is.

UVM needs a simple path for fast adoption.

3. UVM needs to bridge the system domain

Accellera System Initiative has come to life from the unification of Accellera and OSCI.  While the vision to bring the two organizations together is without fault, the lack of a publicly visible plan to leverage each others strengths is noted by Gabe Moretti in his recent blog on DVCon when he wrote: “First we build it and then we figure out how to use it has never been a good architectural approach, especially in electronics.”  His comment was in response to the questions to be asked at DVCon’s Monday lunch about what the new organization should look like.  Gabe certainly thought “the creators of the organization must have some ideas of the focus, mission and goals.”

I certainly do.  In the case of UVM, I think it needs a bridge between the SystemVerilog world in which it was written and the SystemC world of design and modeling.  As teams move to higher levels of abstraction for system-level architectural exploration and definition, the need for efficient and reusable functional models has become an imperative.

It is no secret to the Accellera VIP-TSC that Mentor Graphics thinks this is needed.  Our presentation to committee members on a UVM API to facilitate this outlines exactly what we think should be done to address reusable functional models in the system world.  [Accellera requires registration to download the Mentor presentation.  Accellera members can register here.  Guests require VIP-TSC leadership permission and can request it here.]

UVM must grow and bridge the system world.  The Accellera SystemC Verification Working Group (VWG) knows this.  They have a meeting planned at the DATE conference to discuss future evolutions related to SystemC and Verification on 14 March 2012 from 1230-1340 in Conference Room 4 which I plan to attend.  The VWG meeting is open to external participants, not just Accellera members.

Summary

I don’t know what your thoughts about what should happen next with UVM are.  Feel free to share them here if you wish or join me at DVCon or DATE and we can discuss it with the whole community.  Maybe there is hope we can make progress on these three areas in the coming year.

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