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Transaction assertions boost Jeda NSCa suite

Posted: 16 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:transaction-level assertion? native SystemC assertion? NSCa? SystemC? programmer's view with timing transaction-level models?

Working to support modeling and verification at a higher level of abstraction, Jeda Technologies is adding transaction-level assertion to native SystemC assertion (NSCa), a verification automation tool suite introduced in February.

NSCa is a native SystemC assertion development and debug environment. Its assertion syntax is said to provide a fourfold to tenfold code reduction over writing assertions directly in SystemC. An integrated development environment provides debug, coverage and trace tools, along with editing and make-file creation.

Until now, however, NSCa supported only cycle-level assertions. With support for transaction-level assertions, a user can focus on such operations as writes and reads, rather than the individual clock cycles that make up a write or read. A transaction-level assertion might specify an event that is supposed to happen, or not happen, when a write or read is executed.

Transaction-level assertions will open NSCa to broader use by systems architects, said Steve Pollock, Jeda VP of marketing and sales. "Architects aren't working at the cycle signal level," he said. "They're at a much higher level."

Transaction-level assertions can help capture the architect's intent, he said. "If there's a paper spec creating a checker that verifies something, that's a nice thing to hand off to the RTL designer." But verification teams will use transaction-level assertions as well, Pollock said. They're useful, he noted, for doing constrained-random testing or generating high volumes of traffic.

The NSCa transaction-level assertions are analogous to the programmer's view with timing transaction-level models in SystemC, Pollock said. That is, they are temporal assertions that have some concept of timing and sequence. But a transaction-level abstraction doesn't necessarily require a transaction-level model to run, he noted.

Assertions are written using macros or NCSCa syntax.

There are three ways to write assertion checks with NSCa. One is to use NSCa assertion macrosC++ macros that can be called directly in any SystemC simulator. Another is to use the NSCa extended C++ syntax, which is said to resemble the syntax of SystemVerilog assertions or the Property Specification Language. The third uses the NSCa API to connect to a user-specific front end or C++ code base.

The transaction-level assertion capability is available this month. NSCa pricing starts at $25,000 for a one-year license.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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