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Tool generates verification plans from design specs

Posted: 23 Feb 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Richard Goering? Severity One? Relay? vManager?

Severity One Inc. is starting to sell Relay, a tool that produces reusable, coverage-driven verification plans from textual specifications or user input through a graphical user interface. It can produce coverage models in the "e" verification language, as well as coverage goals for Cadence Design Systems Inc.'s verification-planning product, the vManager.

"We did it the good old-fashioned way of pulling out documents and writing a plan," said Steve Burchfiel, CEO and co-founder of Severity One. "We saw the enormous need for automation in the planning space. We wanted to find a way to develop reusable verification plans, so when a company sells IP it can say, here's the plan and the test suite and coverage model that matches the plan."

Severity One hired its own developers, wrote the code for Relay, and worked with two large semiconductor companies last year to prove the technology. Relay is now available for purchase, along with a day-and-a-half training program.

Burchfiel said that Relay works at a higher level by generating verification plans from design specifications and can, in fact, input its plans directly into vManager. While Relay doesn't require the use of Cadence's Specman or vManager, it does have direct links to those products. Burchfiel said that Severity One is also working on SystemVerilog support.

According to the company, Relay features a "spec annotator" that has an interface built into Microsoft Word and FrameMaker. As users point to design attributes that need coverage goals, Relay extracts data and calls up a Java-based program to build a verification plan. Burchfiel explained that the plan is synchronized with the Relay database, such that any change made to the original document will be automatically reflected in the verification plan. Alternatively, if there is no written spec, users can turn to the GUI to tell Relay what checks are needed at the block and system level, and what the coverage goals are. The verification plan can also be modified through the GUI.

Additionally, the reusable verification plan produced by Relay will have functional-coverage goals, a definition for all stimulus needed and checking requirements for all the checkers. These plans can be fed into vManager to generate vPlans for monitoring coverage. Users can also generate coverage models in "e" that can be directly fed into Specman.

Advantages, said Burchfiel, include faster time-to-market, better verification quality and coverage. He said Relay can provide a threefold to sevenfold productivity improvement in writing verification plans. "Accuracy is much higher because you're basing it right off of design intent," he said.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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