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Secrets of the (Verification) Alliance

Comments(0)Filed under: Functional Verification, VIP, Doulos, Specman, EDA, verification, AMIQ, uvm, EDA360, verification alliance, VA, partnerships, collaboration, Oski, VAalliance, VerisityIn a recent post, I discussed the need for cross-vendor cooperation in EDA, especially in my world of functional verification. It takes a blend of innovative technologies and methodologies to verify a modern system-on-chip (SoC). Customers also need training, consulting services to fill short-term needs or expand current skill sets, and providers of verification IP (VIP) for multiple purposes. As we say on our Web site, no one company can do it alone. Both the Cadence Connections program for EDA vendors and our Verification Alliance (VA) provide solutions.

I mentioned in my post that I lead the VA program, so I'd like to talk about it a bit more and discuss why many of you readers should care about this alliance. I'll start with a bit of history: the VA was started more than ten years ago by Verisity Design as a way to rally partners around their innovative e verification language. The VA contained numerous companies providing training and consulting services for e-based verification. These partners played an important role in helping customers get up to speed on the language and object-oriented programming.

One critical segment of the VA was the partners providing VIP. The SoCs that were verified with Verisity's Specman Elite tool often contained standard interfaces. Licensing robust e VIP saved customers considerable time and effort while increasing confidence in the implementation of the standards. The range of protocols required was more than any one small company could provide, so Verisity proactively built a VIP ecosystem within VA. After Cadence acquired Verisity in 2005, the focus of the VA program broadened to include companies with expertise in SystemVerilog, SystemC, and formal analysis.

Today the Verification Alliance remains very much alive and active. There are currently more than 40 members spanning 14 counties, ranging from solo consultants to some rather large firms. As the primary approver for membership, I actively seek appropriate companies and invite them to join. We typically provide a few copies of relevant products so that members can train their staffs on Cadence verification solutions. Every year we license several million dollars' worth of our products to our VA partners in exchange for a small fee.

So what do we get in return? In cases where a VA member is a product company, they may provide reciprocal copies of their tools or VIP. The VA consulting and training companies offer a trusty place to send our customers who might benefit from their services. Sure, Cadence has consulting and training services too, but we can't always satisfy every demand in every corner of the world so the VA partners are a welcome backup. As experts in their fields, many VA partners also provide feedback to help us improve our solutions for our customers.

Finally, we actively look for opportunities to work with our partners in public events, especially those reporting on mutual customer success. For example, Oski Technology gave a presentation at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) last year on a consulting project for Cisco. Using Cadence's formal-analysis tools, they successfully verified a complex statistics block in only 3 months versus the 18 months projected for simulation. As another example, when we launched the UVM World site we called on VA partners to endorse it, contribute content, and later present at the DAC UVM booth.

I could give lots more examples (AMIQ presenting at CDNLive!, joint seminars with Doulos, etc.) but I'm sure that you get the point. The Verification Alliance is an essential program with many proven benefits to customers, partners, and Cadence. It's a big deal for me, but it's just one of six major alliance programs here at Cadence. In my next post I'll pass on some information and thoughts about the Connections Program. Until then, please let me know if you have any questions about the VA program or any of its members.

Tom A.

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

 

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