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Novas adds assertion support to debugger

Posted: 03 Mar 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:novas software? openvera? Verdi behavior? debugger? assertion based verification?

Debug tool vendor Novas Software Inc. has taken a significant step towards allowing engineers to actually use newly emerging assertion-based verification methodologies, as it has added OpenVera assertion support to its new Verdi Behavior-Based Debug System.

"The industry is at the beginning of a methodology evolution that incorporates assertions," said Scott Sandler, president and CEO of Novas. "We have standards body Accellera drawing up assertion standards and simulation tools beginning to support assertions. During this year, we should see adoption pick up and that should shift the methodology."

Assertions are viewed as a helpful verification tool because they allow user intent or properties to be tested directly in either formal verification or simulation. The methodology should get a further boost now that Novas - which is the marketshare leader in debug tools, according to research firm Dataquest - now supports assertion use.

Sandler said that Novas is aligning with that shift and wants to have tools ready even before the mass market moves to the assertion methodology.

Sandler noted that customers will be able to track assertions in Verdi in the same way they track HDLs.

"Customers will be able to see the result of the simulation of an assertion in the waveform," said Sandler. "It will show a track in the waveform for a given assertion. It will show when it triggers, where it passes, or where it fails. Users can then click on that signal and it will take them directly to the source code for that assertion."

Verdi initially supports OpenVera and the company plans to expand support for emerging languages Sugar/PSL, SystemVerilog, or a combination of both as they are approved through standards group Accellera.

Accellera is currently working with two assertion standards - Sugar/PSL and SystemVerilog (Verilog plus higher abstraction design constructs) - and is trying to combine the two to offer the industry one solid standard. Accellera is currently in the process of approving SystemVerilog 3.1 and is not expected to approve it until June of this year.

Sandler said the company had to add an OpenVera parser to Verdi and expand Verdi's databases to accommodate assertion support.

He noted that upgrading Verdi to support emerging assertions will simply mean adding the relevant parser and expanding the Verdi knowledge and signal database to accommodate whichever standard Accellera and the rest of the industry chooses.

The new assertion support is available today in a beta release and is free for Verdi customers as part of the newest maintenance upgrade. The production release of Verdi with assertion support should be available in Q3 of this year. Verdi starts at $14,000 for a one-year subscription license.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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