Who Will Own Debug?

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with a verification leader of one of the world’s leading semiconductors companies. He has some 150 verification engineers in his organization and the group has been exploring EDA solutions for many years. While we’ve exchanged many ideas about EDA and innovation, one sentence that he said stays in my head: Whoever will own debug, will own th... » read more

Invent A New Way To Do Your Job

My friends own a farm in the southwest of France, and though I spent most of my recent decades around big cities, my village-raised roots are sending me working in the fields every time I have the time. I don’t really care what I’m assigned to, as long as soil, the nearby forest trees, and the sky (preferably blue) will take part. If the job consists of repeating actions, I like to come up ... » read more

Bug Escapes And The Definition Of Done

National Semiconductor's design center (NSTA) in Herzliya was the place where I fell in love with chip verification. I joined the team in 1999, still during my BSc, and met a group of innovators with a passion to create great ASICs and improve the way we did it at all costs. It was fast-moving learning for me, both on the verification engineering and verification management sides of things. ... » read more

Verification Convergence: Problem Definition

A while ago, I had to go to the ER with my friend who suddenly had a numb feeling in his face. He felt okay (and everything else is okay with him), but better be safe than sorry. While the doctor examined him I noticed that before tracing the problem itself, she asked some questions to rule-out a problem she was already familiar with and that can manifest itself in similar ways. Only then, a... » read more

I’m Almost Done

The city of Belgrade is renovating the street where I live. They are also building a new building next to mine so that I can see the construction work from my balcony. Last week, they blocked the street for some 20 minutes, and people got out of their cars and waited outside for the road to open. The construction workers were not in a hurry, and it seemed like everyone was ok with that, so I... » read more

The Power Of Visualization

In the 1990s, the National Semiconductor Israeli site in Herzliya was responsible for the design and verification of the company’s flagship RISC processor. That was the place and the time when the concept of constraint-random, abstract, coverage-driven verification was born. Engineers realized that without a random generation of stimuli opcodes, it would be very hard to fully verify new pr... » read more

Methodology Vs. Problem-Solving

When I was 18, I bought a Vespa ’67: the famous Italian scooter. It was already very old then, totally beaten-up, but luckily I had a friend who owned an auto-repair shop, and he was kind enough to give me some access at night. For several weeks, I taught myself the art of metal bodywork, ending up with a beautiful metallic sky-blue ‘67 Vespa. God, I loved that machine! Then one day, ... » read more

A Different View On Debugging

The classic approach to improve an engineering task that is becoming too complex due to its size and detail is to raise the abstraction of design representation. In this way we plan cities, build aircraft and plan 500M gate SoCs. For example, there is no way an ASIC design could go beyond a few thousand logic gates without shifting abstraction to the Register Transfer Level (RTL) and leveragin... » read more

The Debug Problem…

While semiconductor verification techniques have evolved considerably over the last 25 years, the debug of design problems found during verification has barely changed. New algorithms including machine learning, visualization approaches, and problem-solving ideas allow a different approach to debugging that saves up to an order of magnitude in debug time. Since the inception of Hardware Desc... » read more