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Verisity eyes 10x verification boost with VPA

Posted: 09 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:verisity? verification process automation? vpa? specman elite? xsim?

Targeting a 10x improvement in verification productivity, Verisity Ltd hopes to address the growing complexity in IC development with a series of applications for both engineering-level and project-level problems. Verification Process Automation (VPA) solutions combine processes with automation to simplify verification, which improves engineers' productivity and predictability toward closure.

VPA includes a set of tools aimed at improving productivity, the number of bugs found during verification, and the amount of data that can be filtered and managed. The vManager verification management tool automates the management of complex verification projects and guides verification from planning and goal setting to closure. It helps provide managers the visibility on how human and computing resources are being used. Verisity also takes verification to the system/SoC level with System Verification Methodology (sVM), a pre-packaged verification knowledge-transfer system that offers 10x automation power for SoC and system-level designs.

Functional verification

New PDAs, cellphones and multimedia entertainment devices have a tremendous amount of functionality. "From a design standpoint, this translates into higher complexity in terms of gates. As manufacturers add more features into their products, the added complexity puts a heavier burden on engineers and resources," said Glaser.

Verification tasks for a typical cellphone design include hardware blocks, A/D interfaces, hardware/firmware, chip and system verification. "As design size increases, there is a corresponding increase in verification complexity," added Glaser. "For every growth in complexity, there is an exponential growth in verification complexity."

The huge market potential in China has pushed the growth of cellphone ODMs in the country. But the increasing complexity of these cellphones has made it difficult for companies to catch up. VPA can reduce the time spent on functional verification of cellphone chips.

Functional verification is considered to be a major stumbling block in the IC development cycle. In a 2003 study by Collett International Research Inc., 67 percent of all errors are logical and functional failures. It is estimated that as much as 70 percent of the entire design cycle is spent on verification. Incomplete verification is the source of about 60 percent of all respins, which can cost millions of dollars and result in wasted labor and missed opportunities.

According to the recent Gartner Dataquest EDA Market Trends report, "EDA 2003: Past the Inflection Point," Verisity commanded 55 percent of the Electronic System Level (ESL) Test and Verification market in 2002. Aside from big competitors including Synopsys, Verisity also competes with some of its potential customers, such as major systems and IC companies, who have in-house verification teams.

With organizational structures becoming flatter and companies doing more outsourcing of non-core functions, VPA allows customers to focus on their core competencies and leave verification tool development to the specialists. Verisity believes that it will continue to face increased competition from existing and new entrants in the verification space. This highlights a major challenge for the company--how to convince engineers that its VPA solutions are better than their in-house tools.

In a recent move, Verisity bundled its Specman Elite verification process automation solution with Xsim, a mixed-language simulator from its recent acquisition, Axis Systems Inc. The new product offering called SpeXsim combines testbench automation with third-generation simulation. Verisity looks at SpeXsim as a step forward in providing the right tools to its customers. "We're also enabling the mainstream engineering community to more easily adopt these verification solutions and significantly lower their total project costs and risks," said Glaser.

The SpeXsim offering starts at $33,000 and runs on Linux and Solaris OSs. A separate Specman Elite tool usually sells for $22,000, while Xsim sells for about the same price. SpeXsim features direct-kernel integration between Specman Elite and Xsim.

- Dave Ledesma

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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