RTL Done And Other Bogus Development Milestones


My definition of progress has changed over the years. I don’t think about it much anymore but it was obvious in a talk I gave a few weeks ago to a diverse group of hardware developers. Part of that talk centered around how we define progress in design and verification. This is a normal thing for me; I was speaking to slides I’d used several times before and the message was no different than... » read more

Gaps In Performance, Power Coverage


The semiconductor industry always has used metrics to define progress, and in areas such as functional verification significant advances have been made. But so far, no effective metrics have been developed for power, performance, or other system-level concerns, which basically means that design teams have to run blind. On the plus side, the industry has migrated from the use of code coverage... » read more

Full Coverage Or Full Monty?


Without adequate coverage metrics and tools, verification engineers would never be able to answer the proverbial question: are we done yet? But a lot has changed in the design flow since the existing set of metrics was defined. Does it still ensure that the right things get verified, that time is not wasted on things deemed unimportant or a duplication of effort, and can it handle today’s hie... » read more

Physical Lint: Physical Quality Metrics For Your RTL


Why Analyze Physical Metrics at RTL? The quality of the logic structures generated from RTL has a direct impact on the number of design iterations required to close a design. Additionally, the quality of logic structures generated from RTL has a direct impact on design utilization. These trends are illustrated in Figure 1. Essentially, improving the quality of the logic structures in a d... » read more

Why Is My Device Better Than Yours?


Differentiation is becoming a big problem in the semiconductor industry with far-reaching implications that extend well beyond just chips. The debate over the future of [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"] is well known, but it's just one element in a growing list that will make it much harder for chip companies, IP vendors and even software developers to stand out from the pack. And withou... » read more

Efficiency Metrics Get Fuzzy


Not too long ago chipmakers used to measure transistors per hour and software developers would measure lines of code written per day or per week. Those metrics have fallen by the wayside—and chipmakers are still lamenting that loss. The problem is that nothing has come along to replace the old metrics, and complexity has left many chipmakers scratching their heads about how to build effici... » read more