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Incisive Simulation and Verification: Top 10 New Things I Learned While Browsing Cadence Online Support, 2Q 2014

Comments(0)Filed under: Verification methodology , SystemVerilog, IES, CPF, UVM ML, irun, UVM-ML, vManager, Cadence Online Support, LPS, IMC, debugging tips, troubleshooting, Random Stability, cos

Cadence Online Support, http://support.cadence.com, provides access to support resources including an extensive knowledge base, access to software updates for Cadence products, and the ability to interact with Cadence Customer Support.

In the June release of Cadence Online Support, many new features and functionalities were added to help users filter and narrow their search results, to provide feedback opportunity via Foresee Survey, and to provide additional browser support. Now the site supports all IE 7x-10x, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and and Safari Browsers.  

The testing for the next release with more new features and enhancements is continuing while I am writing this blog. While I was enjoying all these released new features, as a verification engineer, I also was interested in finding out good knowledge documents that were shared on the site, and if I could easily find them. And indeed, I could easily find many application notes, RAKs, videos, and articles released in last quarter, along with site release updates, that are very helpful.    

You can download your copies from http://support.cadence.com now and check out for yourself. Please note that you will need the Cadence customer credentials to log on to the Cadence Online Support website.


1. Using utrace to Debug SystemVerilog Randomization Problems: The constrained random verification environments can exhibit the following problems:

  • Expected values are not reached
  • Certain values are chosen less frequently or more frequently than expected
  • The constraint solver calls take too long to finish
  • The solver is unable to find a solution for a given constraint set
  • The solver is unable to find a solution with certain starting conditions including variables that are not random or handles and arrays that are not initialized
  • The solver runs out of memory

The app note "Using utrace to Debug SystemVerilog Randomization Problems" describes the utrace debugger feature of the SystemVerilog constraint solver, which can be used to identify and debug problems in a SystemVerilog-constrained randomization environment.

2. Troubleshooting Article 20257945: "How to compile multiple libraries with a single invocation of ncvlog/ncvhdl or irun"

In many environments, it can be useful to compile HDL source code into more than one library. Often this is done by means of multiple invocations of the ncvlog or ncvhdl binary. Read this article to learn how.

3. SDF Annotation with Minimum, Typical, and Maximum Delays: This short 8-minute video describes how IOPATH and INTERCONNECT delays are annotated, how MIN, TYP, and MAX delays are implemented, and how annotation is analyzed in the waveform.

You can also find the related Troubleshooting Article 20264486: "How to annotate maximum delay for one instance and minimum delay for other instance."

4. UVM-ML Library Installation and Setup: This video provides a step-by-step walk through of downloading and installing the UVM-ML OA library from the Accellera forum page. This is followed by details on where to find the documentation, and how to run one of the examples delivered with the library.

5. Troubleshooting Article 20257843: "Understanding SystemVerilog Random Stability"

Random stability can be defined as the resistance of random results to code changes. A key requirement of verification is the ability to recreate the exact conditions that found the problem so that the fix can be verified. When random stimulus is used in a test environment, in order to allow debug-fix-debug cycle, it is required that the same random numbers are generated when the same test is run multiple times. This should hold true even when a change (fix) is added to the code in either the DUT or test bench. This concept is called random stability.

This article describes the concept of and how to achieve random stability in any verification environment involving SystemVerilog constrained randomization.

6. Troubleshooting Article 20266731: "How to get switching information (ON/OFF) about power domains during simulation?"

Users often require switching information about the all or selected power domains in low-power simulation. They want to get the simulation time whenever a power domain is switched ON or OFF. This information is quite useful, while creating complex system-level testcases for power simulations. This article describes couple of ways for achieving this functionality in the tool.

7. All you ever wanted to know about the vManager Server Methodology and Server Setup is now available on Cadence Online Support. 

The server setup section describes the operations that can be done on the servers, while the server methodology section answers questions on the methodology to use the servers.

a. vManager Server Methodology: This collateral describes Postgres and vManager server states, operation summary, server statuses, recommended server topology, data storage detail, software install and migration, current remote capabilities, and PG DB maintenance.   

b. vManager Server Set-Up: This collateral describes the vManager server setup in a detailed manner to equip users with a better understanding of the setup: environment variables, topology and terminologies, and various operations. It also enables users to collect and debug problems encountered while starting and accessing SQL database.

8. Troubleshooting Article 20250009: "How to turn off concurrent assertions while leaving the inline assertions on?"

Verification engineers often require switching information about the all or selected power domains in Low Power Simulation. They want to get the simulation time whenever a power domain is switched ON or OFF. This information is quite useful, while creating complex system-level testcases for power simulations. This article describes a couple of ways for achieving this functionality via Cadence Incisive Enterprise Simulator.

9. Troubleshooting Article 20257827: "How to reduce time to create vcd for power analysis?"

Conventionally,  a directed test is created for power analysis. To activate most of the logic at same time, a switching activity file is extracted in any of following formats: vcd, tcf, saf, fsdb.

The Cadence Encounter Power System (EPS) reads activity file for power estimation. It is cumbersome to include all scenarios in a single test to attain maximum activity and it takes time to create such test and execute. The SHM to VCD conversion for lengthy test also takes a long time, before power analysis can be started. This article, thus describes how to reduce time to do power analysis for complex and huge SoCs?

10. Troubleshooting Article 20253114: "Isolation not placed due to driver filtering <D> in CPF-based low-power simulation"

This article suggests what are the various reasons of implicit isolation not being inserted due to driver filtering during CPF-based low-power simulation? How to debug and fix? It also points to another wonderful troubleshooting for a warning ncelab: *W,PRTNCON—Isolation Cell not placed on port.

Hmmm... let me leave with bonus of two more troubleshooting tips, however, I will just provide title and link, and will not describe them in brief. Please go and figure out for yourself.

11. Troubleshooting Article 20266723: "Reinvoke fails when run in an LSF environment"

12. Troubleshooting Article 20267817: "How to extract a list of probed signals in either an interactive or post-process flow?"

Happy Learning!

Sumeet Aggarwal


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