I trust that most of you have seen the recent flurry of blog posts and articles about the new Cadence "EDA360" vision. I was working on a blog entry on how this links to my world of verification when I saw my colleague Jack Erikson post "What Does EDA360 Mean for Logic Designers?" Since I liked his title, I've
stolen borrowed and adapted it for my own purposes. This is by no means the final word on the impact that EDA360 will have on verification engineers, just some of my initial thoughts that I hope will prompt some responses and discussion.
As Jack notes, this vision is partly based on the observation that our customers are starting to see IP integration as a key component of their SoC projects, on a par with or even more important than IP creation. Additionally, the "IP" being created and integrated is in both hardware and software form, even for companies that were traditionally pure silicon providers. Of course, in the verification world there are clear counterparts to this flow in the creation and integration of verification IP (VIP), some of which already straddles the hardware/software boundary.
These aspects of EDA360 actually intersect the verification engineer's role in multiple ways. Verification teams will do more VIP reuse and integration themselves, while verifying hardware designs with less focus on new IP functionality and more on proper IP integration, while transitioning to SystemC-based design with a mix of different design representations at different times in the project, and while shifting to do more and more hardware-software co-verification. Yes, it sounds like a significant challenge. Here are some of the ways in which the verification role will evolve in order to improve your company's profitability:
- Create. Verification engineers must create VIP with reuse and testbench integration in mind. When verifying a SystemC TLM or RTL IP block, the focus must be on ensuring that the design will behave as expected in all future integrations, not just that it's good enough for the initial chip.
- Integrate. Verification teams must be able to rapidly integrate VIP into verification environments that can handle complete SoC designs in SystemC TLM, RTL, or a blend. The focus must be on verifying that all hardware and software components have been properly integrated.
- Optimize. Verification environments must be optimized for the standard verification methodology (UVM/OVM) and extended not only to verify functionality but also to validate SoC-level metrics such as throughput that reflect a properly optimized SoC design
I realize that I've mixed together the create-integrate-optimize aspects of VIP and design IP, but the reality is that multiple aspects of the EDA360 vision directly affect the verification engineer. Separating them would not do justice to the evolution, perhaps even a revolution, already underway. I'm not minimizing the challenges ahead, but I am confident that Cadence methodology experts and our advanced customers will meet these challenges and pave the way for the rest of the industry to follow.
So what do you think EDA360 means for verification engineers?
The truth is out there...sometimes it's in a blog.