Posts Tagged ‘OVM’

30 July, 2015

Accellera Handoffs UVM to IEEE

It has been a long path from Mentor’s AVM to IEEE P1800.2.  But the moment has arrived: Accellera has formally announced UVM 1.2 will be submitted as a contribution to the IEEE P1800.2™ working group.

Verification Methodology Beginnings

As the IEEE finalized approval of the initial release of SystemVerilog (IEEE Std. 1800™) in 2005, I floated the idea of the need for a methodology that would be a companion to it.  At the time there was little to no industry desire to explore this opportunity in earnest – apart from interest by Mentor Graphics – so we launched our Advanced Verification Methodology (AVM) and set a new direction for an open functional verification methodology.  We built implementations of AVM based on SystemVerilog and SystemC (IEEE Std. 1666™).  We also pioneered an open-source mechanism based on the Apache 2.0 license which is now the accepted license to foster global and rapid open-source adoption in the EDA industry.  And as others joined with us in this journey, AVM grew to become OVM, then UVM.  Now UVM is set to become an IEEE standard.  The IEEE has assigned it project number 1800.2.

imagePath to IEEE

To say we are pleased to see UVM move to the IEEE is an understatement.  We congratulate the Accellera UVM team on its accomplishment and look forward to participate in this phase of UVM’s standardization. Since our first public announcement on May 8, 2006 when we introduced the world to AVM and announced support for it from 19 of our Questa Vanguard Partners, to our announced collaboration with Cadence Design Systems on the development of the Open Verification Methodology (OVM) on August 16, 2007 and the eventual announcement January 8, 2010 that Accellera adopts OVM as the basis of its Universal Verification Methodology, we have guided its development and supported a path for the Big-3 EDA to voice positive public support.  We are thrilled Accellera has announced its delivery of UVM to the IEEE for ongoing standardization and maintenance.

IEEE Standardization

What comes next?  The IEEE P1800.2 (UVM) project has announced a Call for Participation and kickoff meeting to be held August 6, 2015 from 9am – 11am PDT.  The first meeting will be held via teleconference.  In order to attend, you will need to register for the meeting.  Membership in the IEEE project will be “entity-based” with one company, one vote.  The call for participation has details on membership requirements in order to observe or actively participate.  The 1800.2 project will only focus on the written specification and not the open-source base class library (BCL).  The Accellera UVM TSC will continue to update the BCL.  Accellera has committed to keep the BCL implementation current with changes proposed and approved by the IEEE 1800.2 working group.  This is just like the arrangement Accellera has with the IEEE for SystemC.

Join us at the upcoming meeting and remember to register in order to attend!


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27 July, 2015

ASIC/IC Language and Library Adoption Trends

This blog is a continuation of a series of blogs related to the 2014 Wilson Research Group Functional Verification Study (click here).  In my previous blog (click here), I presented our study findings on various verification technology adoption trends. In this blog, I focus on language and library adoption trends.

As previously noted, the reason some of the results sum to more than 100 percent is that some projects are using multiple languages; thus, individual projects can have multiple answers.

Figure 1 shows the adoption trends for languages used to create RTL designs. Essentially, the adoption rates for all languages used to create RTL designs is projected to be either declining or flat over the next year, with the exception of SystemVerilog.


Figure 1. ASIC/IC Languages Used for RTL Design

Figure 2 shows the adoption trends for languages used to create ASIC/IC testbenches. Essentially, the adoption rates for all languages used to create testbenches are either declining or flat, with the exception of SystemVerilog. Nonetheless, the data suggest that SystemVerilog adoption is starting to saturate or level off at about 75 percent.


Figure 2. ASIC/IC Languages Used for  Verification (Testbenches)

Figure 3 shows the adoption trends for various ASIC/IC testbench methodologies built using class libraries.


Figure 3. ASIC/IC Methodologies and Testbench Base-Class Libraries

Here we see a decline in adoption of all methodologies and class libraries with the exception of Accellera’s UVM3, whose adoption increased by 56 percent between 2012 and 2014. Furthermore, our study revealed that UVM is projected to grow an additional 13 percent within the next year.

Figure 4 shows the ASIC/IC industry adoption trends for various assertion languages, and again, SystemVerilog Assertions seems to have saturated or leveled off.


Figure 4. ASIC/IC Assertion Language Adoption

In my next blog (click here) I plan to present the ASIC/IC design and verification power trends.

Quick links to the 2014 Wilson Research Group Study results

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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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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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16 October, 2012

A new style takes center stage

It was Fashion Week in Portland, Oregon in early October.  And while the thought of Portland and fashion might not be believable to many in the world, especially those who look to the design houses of Paris or Milan, it was.  What struck me was the blend of fashion with high tech this year.  Intel took the opportunity to roll out its fashion inspired campaign (dressing room mirror sized tablets) and Mitsubishi used it to launch its new electric vehicle (named MiEV in case you did not know).  Certainly it was more than just your run-of-the-mill runway show.  But that was not the only thing “getting some style” here in the Portland area.

VA 2The Verification Academy team at Mentor Graphics has been working hard as well to restyle the Verification Academy website, modernize it and make content easily accessible. It made its debut in late September, a few weeks before the Portland Fashion Show.  While these two things are a coincidence, the focus on a refreshed style should not to be totally unexpected.

Some of the changes just had to be made given the success of the Verification Academy.  When it started a few years back, Harry Foster (the face in the picture of the Verification Academy website above) knew the adoption of advanced technology was hampered by unequal and slow distribution of knowledge.  Part of the Verification Academy’s thrust was to bring information about advanced verification topics to the whole world in a format that could be easily used.  The content comes from respected verification subject matter experts and the first “runaway success” was the Open Verification Methodology (OVM) training by John Aynsley from Doulos for the “basic” module and Tom Fitzpatrick from Mentor Graphics for the “advanced” module.  The Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) course, likewise, has also joined the ranks of the highly watched.  Updates to the Academy improve the services to deliver video.

We have moved to the most current web video protocols that allow modern browsers and mobile devices to easily access course content. You can watch courses on the “smaller” smartphone screens to the largest of TV displays with SD and HD video to support your viewing preferences. Since content is delivered in native web technologies, users do not have to depend on Flash or other plugins.

We have also migrated the Academy to the leading open source content management system and adopted the use SSL throughout the Verification Academy to make it more secure.

When we first started the Verification Academy, we did not know how large the community would grow nor could we predict the demands the community would place on the resources to support it.  Today, there are almost 12.5K users making it the largest single site to support the verification professional.  The changes we have made to the internals of the site show a speed improvement of over 400% by exploiting a commercial content delivery network to handle large media.

UVM Basic Intro CCAnd for many members, where English is a second language, the video captions, when offered, are in plain text.  Registered users can click on the picture to the right to see the UVM Introduction and enable closed caption to see how the text appears right below the video.  (Or, from reading the text below video in the picture to the right, you can see John is introducing himself at the moment of this screen capture.)

We have also made big improvements to searches.  The searching facility now scans across all content at once, from the forums, to the UVM/OVM Cookbook and presents the information to you in an improved way to allow you to filter the results to focus on just that you want to know.

Want to experience the new Verification Academy 2.0 style?  Click here to go to the Verification Academy to see these changes and discover these and other changes yourself. Share your comments with me on what you think.  Have we made it better for you?  And if not, what more can we do to improve your experience even more?

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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.


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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20 July, 2012

Live & In-Person at DAC 2012!

DAC 2012 4Verification Academy, the brain child of Harry Foster, Chief Verification Scientist at Mentor Graphics, was live from the Design Automation Conference tradeshow floor this year.  Harry is pictured to the right giving an update on his popular verification survey from the DAC tradeshow floor.

The Verification Academy, predominantly a web-based resource is a popular site for verification information with more than 11,000 registered members for forum access on topics ranging from OVM/UVM, SystemVerilog and Analog/Mixed-Signal design.  The popular OVM/UVM Cookbook, which used to be available as a print edition, is now a live online resource there as well.  A whole host of educational modules and seminars can also be found there too.

If you know about the Verification Academy, you know all about  the content mentioned above and that there is much more to be found there.  For those who don’t know as much about it, Harry took a break from the being at the Verification Academy booth at DAC to discuss the Verification Academy with Luke Collins, Technology Journalist, Tech Design Forum.  (Flash is required to watch Harry discuss Verification Academy with Luke.)

The Verification Academy at DAC was a great venue to connect in person with other Verification Academy users to discuss standards, methodologies, flows and other industry trends.  Each hour there were short presentations by Verification Academy members that proved to be a popular way to start some interesting conversations.  While we realize not all Verification Academy members were able to attend DAC in person, we know many have expressed an interest to some of the presentations.  Verification Academy “Total Access” members now have access to many of the presentations.






Thales Alenia Space


Test & Verification Solutions


Willamette HDL


Sunburst Design


Mentor Graphics

Total Access members can also download all the presentations in a .zip file.  Happy reading to all those who were unable to visit us at DAC and thank you to all who were able to stop by and visit.

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21 February, 2012

Is my car trying to tell me something?

This past Friday was the beginning of a two day internal functional verification meeting at Mentor Graphics corporate headquarters on Intelligent Testbench Automation (iTBA).  (Mentor’s iTBA product, Questa inFact is hot and getting hotter.) After getting to my car to return home at the end of the first day, I was thinking that the large interest in this technology – demonstrated by a standing room only training event – has got to be a tipping point indication for iTBA.

I turned my car on.  (Actually, I “pushed” it on as there is no place to put a key to turn anymore.)

Tornado-bp2Moments after starting my car a winter storm alert interrupted the music on the radio and displayed two notices.  One I am familiar with when the temperature falls and snow begins to collect on the mountain passes.  I’m not going to drive in the direction of the snow, so no problem.  The other alert was of grave concern.  It was a tornado watch.  And the tornado watch was not off in some other direction many miles away, it was “0 miles” from me.  I looked up, I scanned the horizon and dark black was in one direction and sun in the other.  I changed the radio channel to a local AM evening drive station, but no mention of a tornado watch.  I headed in the direction of the sun.  It seemed the safest direction to head.  But before I did, I snapped a quick picture as proof I actually read “Tornado Watch” on the car’s navigation screen.

iTBA to the Rescue?

I returned to ponder if functional verification has just gotten too big for current techniques that iTBA is going from a nice to have, to a must have.

Several years back it was popular to brag about the compute farms & ranches one had.  With 5,000 machines here and another 5,000 machines there it seemed a sane demonstration of one’s design and verification prowess.  But this gave way to 50,000 multicore machines and who is talking about this with pride?  All talk is out of necessity.  And what about the next step?  Who has 500,000 or 5,000,000 on the drawing board or in their data centers?  Looking around, it seems very few admit to more than 100,000 and even fewer have more than 500,000.

Verification may be in crisis, as many will say, but it you hold verification technology constant, it is not in crisis, is on a  collision coarse with disaster.  Addressing this crisis has been the theme of many of Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines’ keynotes at DVCon.  His 2011 keynote was taken to heart by many who attended.  The need to improve by a several orders of magnitude the “Velocity of Verification” has been followed by several examples over the year.

One example was shared several months after DVCon when Mentor Graphics and TSMC announced we had partnered to validate advanced functional verification technology.  While not all test results at TSMC or our common customer, AppliedMicro, were revealed, one of the slower tests demonstrated the value of iTBA to shorten time-to-coverage by over 100x.  Even days after that announcement we disclosed Mentor’s Veloce emulation platform offered 400x OVM/UVM driven verification improvement.

100x  and 400x seem like a large numbers, but it appears even bigger when you put it into the context of the time it was measured.  With current constrained random techniques, a project that takes 6 weeks of simulator run time to reach 100% closure can reach it in about 10 hours with Questa inFact or about 2.5 hours with Veloce.  Instead of using complex scripts to peek in on a simulation run over the course of a month and a half, a verification team could actually leave work for the day, return the next morning and have a full, complete and exhaustive verification run.  And when even faster turnaround time is needed, emulation returns results during the work day.

SoC Verification: A Balance of simulation, iTBA & emulation

Wally’s DVCon 2011 keynote referenced 8 customer results coming from Mentor’s Questa inFact tool.  Many more have discovered what this can do for them as well.  And with each success, come the requests from more to see what it can do for them.

But changing the “Velocity of  SoC Verification” has not rested on one technique alone.  Stop by the Mentor Graphics DVCon booth and we can share with you the advances we have made to address system-level verification since last year.

Crossing The Chasm

Which brings me to the point of the “Tornado Watch.”  As I pondered the iTBA tipping point, about “how little things can make big differences” as can be found in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, my car must have been channeling Geoffrey Moore of  “Crossing The Chasm” fame instead.  For that reason it must have issued the Tornado Watch.  Could it be that iTBA is set to cross the chasm from early adopters to the early majority?

And thankfully, I don’t think my car is programmed to issue tipping point warnings, nor do I want to see if it can.

In the end, it will be with the benefit of hindsight that let’s us know if we are crossing the chasm into the tornado or not now or soon.  But for Mentor’s part, full and advanced support of iTBA technology with Questa inFact is ready now, and we are set to cross the chasm into the tornado.   My colleague, Mark Olen, blogs about iTBA here.   If you have not had a chance yet to read his blog on iTBA delivering 10x to 100x faster functional verification, it is worth the time to do so.  You can look for him to give frequent updates on iTBA and comment on the positive impact is has on SoC design and verification teams in the months ahead.

I look forward to seeing you at DVCon.

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15 February, 2012

“Ready, Set, Deploy”

Accellera DayThe last half year has seen a theme from Accellera Systems Initiative that declares its Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) is ready for design and verification teams to adopt. This theme started with a whitepaper from Accellera I authored with two of my peers, Stan Krolikoski from Cadence Design Systems and Yatin Trivedi from Synopsys. A day long UVM tutorial will be featured during “Accellera Day” at DVCon with the same ready, set, deploy theme. The UVM tutorial is timely as I have seen UVM gain traction as OVM users transition at the end of their projects and those who have yet to adopt a standardized methodology have likewise begun their adoption.

uvm 2The UVM tutorial starts with an introduction to UVM, concepts of structured verification methodology, base classes, resource configuration management, error handling and report generation. A section on the UVM register package will show how to create and manage stimulus and checking at the register level. Several expert users will show how this fits together in a complex SoC verification environment and relate lessons learned in preparing the transition to UVM, architecting reusable testbenches, debut techniques and use of the TLM 2.0 in real verification environment.

The tutorial will be presented by expert verification methodology architects and engineers as shown below:

Speakers: Tom Fitzpatrick Mentor Graphics Corp.
  Kathleen Meade Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
  Adiel Khan Synopsys, Inc.
  Stephen D’Onofrio Paradigm Works, Inc.
  John Aynsley Doulos
  Mark Strickland Cisco Systems, Inc.
  Vanessa Cooper Verilab, Inc.
  John Fowler Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
  Peter J. D’Antonio The MITRE Corp.
  Justin Refice Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

Conference attendees may choose this tutorial or if you wish to attend the tutorial only, DVCon charges a modest fee ($75.00). You can register here for the day long UVM tutorial.

More UVM News

With 33 exhibitors at DVCon and the heavy functional verification content, what other venue could deliver the potential of breaking UVM news? I invite you to stop by the Mentor Graphics booth were we can share with you the latest in support of UVM. You will find us at booth 801.

I look forward to seeing everyone at DVCon!

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10 November, 2011

IEEE Announces Revision to IEEE 1666™ – Adds Transaction-Level Modeling Support

A significant step forward to address standards for advanced system-on-chip (SoC) designs has taken place by the IEEE.  The IEEE announced the new revision of the SystemC standard, known as IEEE 1666™-2011, has been approved.  While it is a revision of the current SystemC standard, IEEE 1666™-2005, the major new feature added was Transaction-Level Modeling (TLM), which is new to an IEEE standard.

For many years now, the TLM specification and accompanying open source code has been incubating in the Open SystemC Initiative (OSCI).  OSCI’s TLM Working Group has developed the TLM 1.0 and TLM 2.0 specifications, both of which are part of the revised IEEE 1666 standard.  TLM is important to SystemC, but it has also been leveraged outside of it.

We at Mentor Graphics pioneered the use of TLM in SystemVerilog (IEEE 1800™-2009) when our seminal open-source work on the Advanced Verification Methodology (AVM) brought an implementation to the verification community based on SystemVerilog.  This lives on today, as AVM motivated the Open Verification Methodology (OVM), which became the basis for Accellera’s Universal Verification Methodology (UVM).

If you don’t already know what TLM is and how the verification community is using it in OVM and UVM, the Verification Academy has a lot of written material and video training modules that will help you learn how this important new IEEE standard is used from simulation to emulation and has boosted verification productivity.  The “Understanding TLM” module is featured in the Advanced UVM section, so if you are still a novice to UVM, you may wish to start with the Basic material first.  This module is presented by fellow Verification Horizons Blogger, Tom Fitzpatrick and offers subtitles in English, Russian, Japanese and Chinese (Traditional & Simplified) to help drive rapid global adoption.

As we brought TLM into the modern verification methodology practice with a SystemVerilog implementation, it also surfaced that there is an opportunity for the creator of TLM, OSCI, and an adopter of it in UVM, Accellera, to discuss what they could do together.  And as I’ve blogged before, those two organizations announced their intention to unite before the end of 2011, as others have seen the potential when both are brought together.  I expect to see more great ideas come from these two groups when they join forces, just like the TLM work that is now an IEEE standard.

For those who want a copy of the revised IEEE 1666 standard, it is still in final IEEE editorial review as the they do their last formatting.  I will share with you when it is ready to use as well as how to get it and where to find it.

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