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Startup spins open-source HVL wares

Posted: 01 Sep 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hardware verification language? jeda? jeda-x? system verilog3.1? e language?

Startup Jeda Technologies Inc. is turning an open-source hardware verification language (HVL) developed by one of its founders into a commercial product. The company plans to field a verification environment based on the Jeda language.

Chief technology officer Atsushi Kasuya developed the Jeda language as a verification engineer at Juniper Networks Inc. Kasuya was also an original developer of the Vera language and is the author of two Vera patents. The Jeda HVL became available as an open-source offering in 2001 under the GNU Public License.

The GPL version will still be available, but Jeda Technologies is putting all its development efforts into Jeda-X, its upcoming commercial product, said Eugene Zhang, co-founder and acting CEO of Jeda Technologies. "Users said we need to provide a full commitment," he said. "This will be a powerful, fully licensed product, plus technical support."

Jeda Technologies is a self-funded startup founded by Kasuya, Zhang and director of technology Tesh Tesfaye, all of whom worked at Sun Microsystems Inc., where Vera was developed in the early 1990s. All three were then members of the verification team at Juniper. Zhang said the company is looking for a full-time CEO and is working to attract venture capital funding.

The Jeda-X product is currently in beta testing, Zhang said. A "leading high-end router company," which Zhang declined to identify, used Jeda-X to tape out ASICs for a terabit router, he said.

Seeking consistency

Kasuya said Jeda Technologies will try to maintain consistency between the GPL of Jeda and the commercial version, "as much as our resources would allow." But the commercial version's code base has been separated from the GPL version to avoid mixture with the open-source contributions of others, he said.

With Synopsys Inc.'s Vera and Verisity Design Inc.'s "e" language already available as HVLs, and with Accellera planning to incorporate verification features into its SystemVerilog 3.1 language, a new proprietary HVL may not be an easy sell. But Jeda Technologies believes its language has a number of advantages.

Jeda is extremely fast and easy to use, the company said. And as a compiled language, it provides better performance than competitive approaches, according to Jeda Technologies. It supports concurrent programming, allowing users to start multiple parallel threads. It provides safeguards to minimize user programming errors and has runtime automatic garbage collection.

Jeda uses aspect-oriented programming to modularize test code, allowing features that cut across multiple classes. It generates random tests and can generate its own clocks. It supports verification IP through a Jeda "plug-and-play" module, the company said. "Testbench reuse has been talked about for a long time. I think Jeda can make it a reality," Zhang said.

Some observers believe that SystemVerilog 3.1 will obviate HVLs, but Jeda Technologies does not think so. "Fundamentally, we see SystemVerilog 3.1 as the merge of Verilog and Vera," said Katsuya. "As we all know, these two old languages carry many idiosyncrasies and these are inherited in the merged one."

And even though the GPL version will still be available, Jeda Technologies plans to offer a free "Jeda Lite" product that provides the full functionality of the production Jeda-X product, Zhang said. However, it will be binary only, and will be limited to small designs.

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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