Right before the December holidays it was my privilege to host the first "Club Formal" here in the U.K. My colleagues and I welcomed over 20 power users from 8 different companies, providing an exciting diversity of ideas and applications. We also took the opportunity to sneak preview some new technologies, share our product roadmap, and discuss new requirements from the attendees to better align our R&D development with their needs.
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Here are some specific highlights of the event:
Customer Presentation: Finding A Cache Coherency bug with formal
In a very motivating talk, engineer David Lewsey shared how he was able unearth a nasty cache controller bug -- something engineers had not been able to detect with simulation -- via a clever combination of optimizing the design and applying abstraction methodologies. Specifically, putting some parameters in the code can really reduce the size of the design that the tool "sees." Plus, you can avoid modifying the RTL with concurrent, judicious applications of cut points, forces, and init commands in TCL scripts. In roughly the same amount of time it would have taken just setup a block level test bench, they were able to uncover the root cause of a complex bug that had eluded detection for some time.
Presentation: UVM with ABV
In this talk and supporting demo, Kong Woei Susanto showed how the basic principles of the popular Universal Verification Methodology ("UVM") can be readily extended to the formal and assertion-based verification (ABV) space. In the context of an easy to understand router example, Kong showed how simple reuse techniques/templates, and coverage-driven driven verification methodologies so common in the dynamic simulation world map directly to ABV and how the strengths of formal techniques can be used to compliment weaknesses in a pure simulation flow.
Keynote speech on "Verifying Memory Coherency"
Continuing on the cache coherency theme, it was a real treat to introduce R&D Fellow Bob Kurshan, a true pioneer in the field of formal analysis (remember the ground breaking "Formal Check" tool?), to present a deep dive on the challenges and pitfalls of cache and memory coherency verification.
Yours truly was honored to lead the panel discussion with Solutions Architect Joerg Muller, and our AE speaker Kong Woei Susanto to brainstorm with the audience on a wide variety of topics. Allow me to publicly thank the attendees again for being so generous with their thoughts and recommendations, which was to the benefit of all!
Training, Roadmaps and new Product Previews
Allow me to again thank the attendees for their warm reception of our product roadmap, and being generous with comments about where you'd like to see more attention. This feedback is invaluable to R&D, and as you saw we were all taking careful notes. In addition, the attention paid to the coverage unreachability and formal scoreboarding reviews made it clear these were areas of high interest for everyone.
Lunch, Snacks, and Happy hour!
Last but not least, the intermissions and social segments of the day were of high value as well. Whether it was the casual lunchtime discussions, or informal Q&A at the pub, truly these venues -- comfortable, community settings where users get to swap stories with other users to brainstorm solutions and share tips and tricks -- were some of the best parts of the day.
Bottom-line: an engaging, informative time was had by all, and I believe I speak for everyone in looking forward to the next event later in 2012!
Until the next Club Formal, happy verifying!
Application Engineering Leader
for Team Verify
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/teamverify, @teamverify
P.S. Team Verify is working on the 2012 event calendar now. Hence, this the perfect time to let us know If you would like to see a Club Formal in your area! Simply jump to the Team Verify home page and "send Team Verify a private message".
P.S.S. In case you are unable to attend a Club Formal near you, be sure to check out our archive of free, technical webinars: