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India Needs Real-World Assertions Too

Comments(0)Filed under: Functional Verification, India, assertions, New Delhi, real-world assertions, Old Delhi, NoidaI've just returned from a week-long trip to India, spending most of my time at the Cadence R&D center in Noida. I was last there a year ago for our CDNLive! India 2010 event, a great show that prompted me to write a glowing blog post. This year's show was covered admirably by my colleague Joe Hupcey, which was fine with me since traveling to India twice in three weeks would be tough even for us seasoned road warriors. This time my focus was strictly on product development and deployment, topics that consumed a full week very easily.

It's amazing how much my Indian experience has changed since I had my first R&D site there 15 years ago. In those days we had a small office suite leased from a tile manufacturing company, one window air conditioner that didn't really keep the place cool, a single speakerphone shared by the entire staff, and dial-up Internet access so unreliable that we sent floppy discs through the mail rather than trying to send source code via FTP. When the power went out, typically 2-3 times a day, we would start up a noisy gas-fired generator out on the balcony.

To be fair, at the time I worked for a startup and doubtless larger companies had somewhat better offices. But today the Cadence Noida site is the peer of any in the world, not just in physical facilities but also in terms of engineering talent and productivity. I really enjoy visiting India, and our team in particular. But I didn't start this blog post just to talk about my trip. Along the way I had a few experiences that reminded me yet again that the real world seems to be missing assertions that would prevent some illogical situations from arising.

My first example occurred before I even left the ground. In the departure lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), I noticed the sign shown at the right:

In case you have difficulty viewing the image, below the sign and arrow requesting "comments" are two holes and an outline on the wall where clearly some sort of receptacle for comments had once been attached. I got a good chuckle out of that, promptly snapping the photo and posting on Facebook with the comment "Apparently somebody decided that they didn't want passenger comments after all."  It's almost too easy a target, but I'll assert that if you're going to remove the receptacle for comments you must remove the sign requesting them as well.

My second example occurred at a fairly new and very nice Southeastern Asian restaurant near my hotel in Noida. Of course we ate a lot of good Indian food on the trip but the menu at this place looked promising for something different. In fact the food was very good and the service quite solicitous; clearly they were looking to build a positive reputation. When the waiter brought the check I gave them my credit card, and when he returned he brought the familiar printed receipt with a line to specify the tip and a line below to indicate the total.

Since the service had been good I wanted to give him a nice tip, so I wrote in the amount and the total. He returned a few minutes later saying that the tip would not work on the card; after a few minutes of confusion we realized that they had no way to add the tip to the credit charge. This is fairly common outside of the United States, especially in Europe, but the receipt generally does not leave a space for a tip. So I left the tip in cash, but I'll assert that if a credit-card receipt has a place to write in a tip the restaurant must allow the tip to actually be charged to the same card.

My final example is a bit odd. It's a rarity on a business trip to see much of anything beyond hotel rooms and conference rooms, but my colleagues kindly arranged for a pedicab tour of Old Delhi (check out wheninindia.com - highly recommended). Several hours of visiting historic mosques, markets, and other sites led us to the Red Fort, a staggeringly impressive complex once the center of the whole Mughal Empire. As dusk was settling over the city we settled down to watch a "light and sound show" of the fort's history.

The multi-media aspect was dated, but I enjoyed a narration that filled in some gaps in my knowledge of Indian history. In one segment, the narrator mentioned a king falling in love with a woman of dubious reputation (I won't use the word here) and installing her in his palace along with her friend who had "the most luscious watermelons." I'll assert that you shouldn't use derogatory slang for women and double-entendres in a family show intending to teach history. My Indian colleagues had the same reaction so I don't think I'm guilty of cross-cultural judgment.

So that's a quick summary of a business trip that was much more enjoyable than most, and three more real-world assertion stories for you. My next blog post will jump back into more serious topics, based on a request from my last post on cooperation in EDA and verification. One of my colleagues suggested that readers probably don't know much about the Cadence partnership programs, and the Verification Alliance in particular. Unless there's some major industry change that would take priority, I will cover partners in my next post.

Tom A.

The truth is out there...sometimes it's in a blog.

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