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Verplex: Solutions for correct RTL design implementation

Posted: 01 Oct 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:eda? conformal? equivalence checking products? rtl? blacktie functional checker?

Taiwan started promoting electronics in the 1980s as part of its key economic development initiatives. Government policies were then formulated to accelerate business development in the computer and semiconductor sectors. Consequently, many electronics manufacturing companies were started in the 1980s, such as TSMC, UMC, and Winbond. Additionally, several companies in the systems business, such as BNQ, Quan-Ta, Hon-Hai and Asus Technologies, began to manufacture PC motherboards for branded companies in the U.S. Assembly, packaging and testing capabilities, which were strategically necessary to supplement the manufacturing end, followed shortly thereafter.

Taiwan's electronics firms began to flourish in the 1990s via the formation of industrial groups and the establishment of strategic alliances with other foreign corporations. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, IC design companies such as VIA Technologies, Sunplus, Acer Laboratories, Silicon Integrated Systems (SIS) and Realtek Semiconductor Corp. emerged. These firms started out by building chipsets for computers, laptops, PDAs and low-end consumer electronic devices. They eventually began diversifying into other product lines.

By the mid-1990s, DRAM manufacturers such as Powerchip and Lan-Ya began appearing in Taiwan. Other success stories include MediaTek, a developer of DVD electronics technology and Faraday, a supplier of libraries and services to local foundries.

SoC design

Several local IC design houses have begun to offer SoC design service, which is now considered as the fastest growing segment in Taiwan. In addition, newer SoC design services companies have emerged, including Goya, IGT, Progate Group Corp., Socle Technology Corp.

Taiwan has built up the infrastructure to accept designs from foreign companies, customize them based upon specific product requirements, and propagate them through design implementation, manufacture, packaging, assembly and test. The advantage is obvious, since Taiwan's manufacturing cost can be as low as one-third of that in the U.S. Furthermore, system houses in Taiwan are able to provide complete turnkey systems to large, branded companies worldwide when they work within this infrastructure. Examples of these turnkey systems include laptops and PDAs.

The government-sponsored project called Si-Soft is intended to raise Taiwan's SoC design capability. In terms of industry trend over the next few years, Taiwan's IC design industry is investing in IP, SoC and platform-based design expertise so that they can shorten time-to-market, decrease prices and increase competitiveness.

Another trend is that companies in Taiwan are now linking with manufacturing centers in China, thereby lowering costs and boosting production even further. In the future, Taiwan could choose to focus on name branding, which means developing independent specifications and designs that differentiate Taiwan's products from other branded products.

RTL design solutions

Verplex has strong links with the IC market in Taiwan. In fact, Verplex products were developed based on feedback from Taiwan companies, who were the earliest of Verplex's customers. Verplex has since grown to become the market leader in formal verification worldwide, providing the only complete formal verification solution. This solution enables companies in Taiwan to ensure that RTL designs they accept from other companies will be correctly integrated into larger SoC designs, and correctly implemented from RTL to final layout.

Part of that complete solution is the Conformal family of equivalence checking products, ensuring that final gate and SPICE level designs are functionally equivalent to their original RTL specifications. The other part of this solution is the BlackTie functional checker, which enables designers to verify targeted functions in their designs more thoroughly. This improves design quality and shortens the design cycle, thereby ensuring that RTL blocks, or customized RTL blocks, are integrated correctly as part of an SoC. BlackTie also automatically finds semantic and structural inconsistencies in the RTL, ensuring that it is as clean as possible before proceeding through the rest of the design flow.

- Chioumin M. Chang

President and CEO

Verplex Systems Inc.





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