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SynaptiCAD joins graphical debugging market

Posted: 12 Apr 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:verilog? vhdl? c++ simulator? synapticad? bughunter pro?

Offering a graphical debugging system that can control Verilog, VHDL, and C++ simulators, SynaptiCAD has announced BugHunter Pro. It uses the same graphical environment as SynaptiCAD's own VeriLogger Pro Verilog simulator, but is the company's first debugger that can work with any simulator.

BugHunter Pro includes single-step debugging, unit-level testbench generation, streaming of waveform data, project management, syntax highlighting editor, and a hierarchy tree to navigate the user's design. It supports both the Verilog VCD waveform format and SynaptiCAD's own high-speed, compressed waveform format.

The unit-level testbench generation is distinctive, said Donna Mitchell, VP of marketing at SynaptiCAD. "We can parse your VHDL or Verilog and dump all the signal names into our graphical waveform window," she said. "Then you can draw the stimulus, and we generate the VHDL or Verilog stimulus models and kick off the simulation using your simulator."

BugHunter's interactive capabilities can save a lot of debugging time, Mitchell said. "As soon as you write a module and it compiles, you can draw a few waveforms and test it really quickly," she said. BugHunter supports simulators including Aldec ActiveHDL, Cadence Verilog-XL and NC, Mentor Graphics ModelSim and Synopsys VCS, besides VeriLogger Pro.

The product's debugging interfaces provide ways to view simulation results and track down errors. In addition to a waveform window, a project hierarchy window lets users navigate HDL model code. An "inspect values" window lets users view and set values of registers and signals and view values at previous simulation times.

A "scope buttons" window changes the scoping level of the values in the inspect values window. Editor windows provide color syntax highlighting for VHDL, Verilog and C++ code. Users can view values in editor windows by placing the mouse button over signals or variable names.

Debugging features include time breakpoints and source code breakpoints. A "step into with trace" button permits users to inspect the command that was just executed. A "step over" button allows the simulation to continue until the next line after a function or task call.

A "break at time zero" feature puts the simulator in interactive mode after compilation, so users can give the simulator commands before anything happens in the simulation. Graphical testbench generation allows quick testing of small modules.

External tools

BugHunter Pro also allows users to control how it works with external tools. A project settings dialog lets users control external tools and simulators and provides multiple configurations for defining options for machines and simulators. Users can define simulator settings for diagram-level simulations, choose incremental signal loading, and redefine the current stimulus and results diagram, making it possible to switch in different sets of watched signals and unit-level testbenches.

Options can be added to BugHunter. These include GigaWave, which permits the tool to view and edit huge simulation waveform files. A reactive testbench generation option lets users generate testbenches with loops, reactive simulation time tests and clock-based testbenches.

BugHunter Pro is available for Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms starting at $2,000. Supported simulator interfaces include PLI 1.0, PLI 2.0 (VPI), FLI (Foreign Language Interface), FMI (Foreign Model Import), CFC (C Function Call) and VDA (VHDL Design Access).

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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