Posts Tagged ‘UCIS’

6 January, 2014

The UCIS Story

There is no secret as design sizes grow it is doubly burdensome for verification.  Two factors that are easy to measure is the time it takes to simulate a design and the other is the size of the dataset that contains the results of the verification runs. Simulation times are growing and the datasets are getting larger.  While time and attention is given to accelerated verification through emulation, or alternate verification methods, to reduce run times, less explored is the impact of larger datasets on verification closure.  How does one find bugs within datasets that are so large?  How can verification results from simulation, emulation, formal and more be brought together to help drive verification closure?  How can one link failures in verification back to requirements?

The Accellera standards organization took a multi-year journey to help address these issues and arrived at the creation of the Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard (UCIS).  You can get your free copy here if you would like to read and use it.  Mentor Graphics contributed a significant starting point to the standard and collaborated with major competitors and users to add to and extend from there.  But now that the standard is done, what does one do with it?

While that was a rhetorical question when the standard was done in 2012; today it begs an answer.

From my perspective there are two classes of users of UCIS.  The more immediate users are those who are building verification tools that must contend with design and verification complexity now.  With UCIS they have the initial underpinnings to add product features that will allow a level of data portability that was not present prior to the standard.  The second class of users are those who will use the UCIS Application Programming Interface (API) to build functions that will perform simple and complex tasks on these large datasets.  This last class of user that might exchange UCIS API code with each other has yet to materialize.  But the stage is set for them.

To highlight what the first class of UCIS adopters have been doing, DVClub in Europe will tackle to answer this question as on what one can do with UCIS on Monday, 13 January 2014.  Darron May, Product Manager at Mentor Graphics will speak for us on our application of the standard.  His session is titled Blending Metrics from Multiple Verification Engines to Improve Productivity.  You can find out more details about the DVClub event (speakers and presentation abstracts) and register here to attend in person or via remote access.  The event will be held 12:00-14:00 GMT and is free.

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20 November, 2012

Verification Academy Adds Major New Technical Resource

The Verification Academy adds another major methodology cookbook to focus on effective coverage adoption.  The Coverage Cookbook describes the different types of coverage that are available to track your verification process progress, how to create a functional coverage model from a specification, and provides examples to implement functional coverage for different types of designs.

Verification Academy “full access” members have access to the free Coverage Cookbook and the UVM/OVM Cookbooks as well.  Are you a registered full access member?  If not, register now to become a full access member.  (Restrictions apply.)

Coverage is not a new topic.  It was one of major additions to the SystemVerilog (IEEE Std. 1800™-2009) standard.  But the SystemVerilog functional coverage extensions were left to the verification engineer to use in such as way to return meaningful measurements of how much of the design specification was being tested.  The Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) offers greater structure for coverage over SystemVerilog, but it too, is still only a piece of the puzzle.

imageAs verification teams have come to generate greater amounts of information from use of SystemVerilog, UVM and other verification tools, the data from the verification runs needs to be easily used to drive coverage closure.  Within the Mentor Graphics Questa verification platform, this resulted in the development of the Unified Coverage Database (UCDB) and associated verification management and planning features.

Since verification teams use a variety of tools and technology from many sources, it was an imperative that verification information could be easily shared and combined to help drive faster coverage closure across the industry.  This is why Mentor Graphics donated its UCDB API to Accellera where it became the Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard (UCIS).

It would be great to think that we are done; but we’re not.  Tools and data are just two dimensions of the three dimensions to any IC design project.  A comprehensive approach to verification management that handles all of this adds the third dimension.  The Mentor Graphics Questa Verification Management features handle all this.

Now the question is how to best adopt and use all the capabilities at hand from the standards to the verification technology at your finger tips.

The Verification Academy Coverage Cookbook is one of the important tools you now have to help pull all the information into a single place where you can learn the theory and put that theory into practice.  The Coverage Cookbook is much like the OVM/UVM Cookbooks in that it is web friendly, while supporting the ability for you to generate a PDF file of the whole document in case you want to have a printed copy or have it available for offline reference.

The Theory section covers:

  • What is coverage?
  • Kinds of coverage
  • Code Coverage
  • Functional Coverage
  • Specification to coverage
  • Coding for analysis

The Practice section shows three examples you can use today:

  • Bus protocol coverage using ARM® APB3
  • Block level coverage using UART
  • Datapath coverage using BiQuad IIR Filter

The Coverage Cookbook is a live document. You can expect continued extensions and contributions to enhance it.  As Harry Foster, Mentor Graphics’ Chief Scientist Verification put it, “Methodology is the bridge between tools and technologies, which creates a productive, predictable, and repeatable solution.”  We should expect that our collective use of this technology will help hone the methodology which is the heart of the Coverage Cookbook.  And with this use, we should expect the Coverage Cookbook to evolve as we achieve greater verification productivity.

Let us know what you think about the Coverage Cookbook and what we might be able to do to improve it.  In the meantime, Happy Coverage Closing!

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12 July, 2012

Accellera Ushers in Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard (UCIS)

For the past few months, Accellera’s Unified Coverage Interoperability Standards working group has completed and released a new standard that is destined to help boost verification productivity and efficiency.  Verification teams use a variety of verification technologies, many times from different suppliers, to achieve their verification goals.  Collecting information on how each tool adds to verification closure and sharing this information for ever larger designs among different tools has become a daunting challenge.

As a precursor to addressing this from a standardization point of view, many companies built their own way of collecting and sharing this information.  Users recognized the need for a standard and market participants responded.  For Mentor Graphics part, we developed and deployed the Unified Coverage Database (UCDB) technology for our verification products several years back.  Via our Questa Vanguard Partnership program, many partners have integrated into the UCDB to help drive further verification efficiency and productivity for mutual customers.

Yet, users were still left with the challenge to use the emerging coverage database technologies from multiple vendors.  Those users sought a solution to this dilemma from Accellera.  After users completed a requirements document that outlined their needs, we at Mentor Graphics noted that our UCDB technology offered a good match.  We offered to seed the standards development with our tested technology, as did other suppliers.  In the end and with extensions from consultations with other suppliers, an updated UCDB Application Programming Interface (API) specification from Mentor Graphics formed the basis from which Accellera created the UCIS API standard.

UCIS CoverpageIn July 2008 we announced the Mentor Graphics technology donation to this Accellera standards effort.  And on the day Accellera announced completion and availability of the standard at DAC 2012, Mentor Graphics was the first to announce product support.

To read more about support of UCIS and how it plays a critical role in verification, you may wish to read the article in the DAC issue of Verification Horizons.

The UCIS co-chair, Dr. Richard Ho from D.E. Shaw Research presented a comprehensive overview of UCIS at DAC.  Dr. Ho along with his co-chair, Dr. Ambar Sarkar of Paradigm Works, Inc. also presented a tutorial at DVCon 2012 titled An Introduction to the Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard.  The tutorial is available online.  Accellera does require registration for the tutorial.  The DVCon 2012 website on the UCIS tutorial goes into detail about what is covered in this 1 hour presentation.

I highly recommend you register and watch the DVCon 2012 tutorial for a good overview of UCIS.  You can also download, for free and without registration, your copy of the Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard here.  It makes a good companion for the tutorial.

What will you do with UCIS?

After reading the standard and watching the tutorial you should have a solid understanding of the importance it plays to reach coverage closure.  You will learn how you can create applications to improve your own verification productivity and efficiency.  Do you want to share the applications you write?  The new UCIS forum and contribution area was created just for this purpose by Accellera.  Please visit the site, register and contribute.

As more users begin to adopt UCIS, I envision this site will provide a good site for users to share applications.

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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!)
After 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
10:00 – Simulation and Formal Assertion-Based Verification
Harry Foster, Mentor Graphics
9:30 – Using the UVM Register Layer
John Aynsley, Doulos
10:00 – Bringing UVM to Life
Ellie Burns, Mentor Graphics
11:00 – Bringing UVM to Life
Ellie Burns, Mentor Graphics
10:00 – Generating Coverage Models and Achieving Coverage Closure
Mark Olen, Mentor Graphics
11:00 – Resistance is Futile: Learning to love UVM!
Mike Bartley, Test & Verification Solutions
2:00 – Verification of Low Power SoCs with IEEE UPF
Stephen Bailey, Mentor Graphics
2:00 – Bringing UVM to Life
Ellie Burns, Mentor Graphics
2:00 – Automating 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
3:00 – UVM Express
Mike Baird, Willamette HDL, Inc.
4:00 – An 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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