Abstract Verification


Verification relies on a separation of concerns. Otherwise the task has no end. Sometimes we do it without thinking, but as an industry, we have never managed to fully define it such that it can become an accepted and trusted methodology. This becomes particularly true when we bring abstraction into the picture. A virtual prototype is meant to be true to behavior, but there could be timing d... » read more

The Value Of A Model


Increased talk about the Digital Twin has brought models to the forefront of the discussion. What are the right models for particular applications? What is the correct level of abstraction? Where do the models come from and how are they maintained? How does one value a model? The semiconductor industry has been reluctant to create any model that is not directly used in the development path. ... » read more

Betting Big On Discontinuity


Wally Rhines, president and CEO of Mentor, a Siemens Business, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about the booming chip industry, what's driving it, how long it will last and what changes are ahead in EDA and chip architectures. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: The EDA and semiconductor industries are doing well right now. What's driving that growth? Rhine... » read more

Design Reuse Vs. Abstraction


Chip designers have been constantly searching for a hardware description language abstraction level higher than RTL for a few decades. But not everyone is moving in that direction, and there appear to be enough options available through design reuse to forestall that shift for many chipmakers. Pushing to new levels of abstraction is frequent topic of discussion in the design world, particula... » read more

Searching For A System Abstraction


Without abstraction, advances in semiconductor design would have stalled decades ago and circuits would remain about the same size as analog blocks. No new abstractions have emerged since the 1990s that have found widespread adoption. The slack was taken up by IP and reuse, but IP blocks are becoming larger and more complex. Verification by isolation is no longer a viable strategy at the system... » read more

Debug Becomes A Bigger Problem


The EDA industry has invested enormous amounts of time and energy on the verification process, including new languages, new tools, new class libraries, new methodologies. But the one part of the cycle that defines that type of automation is debug. Development teams are spending half of their time in the debug process and the problem is growing. Part of the reason is that design and debug are... » read more

Micro-Architectural Exploration for Low Power Design


In the first part of this series, we had discussed the need to perform power optimizations and exploration at higher levels of abstractions where the potential to reduce the power consumption is highest. We presented the need for making coarser changes at higher level of abstractions to exploit full power saving potential. In the second part, we discussed some very potent micro-architectural te... » read more

How To Model Cars


The most technologically advanced and comprehensive consumer product in the world today is not the smartphone. It's the automobile. This is easier to see once the hood is up and you can take a peek around. Today’s cars contain sophisticated motion systems, crash safety systems, climate control systems, driver assistance, and infotainment, to name a few. In semiconductor design, one of the ... » read more

ROI Not There Yet For SysML


At some point down the road in the realm of system-level design, the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) dialect of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) standard may drive into semiconductor design. So far, however, a return on investment has not been established for its use. SysML is defined as a general-purpose visual modeling language for systems engineering applications, and it supports the... » read more

The Next Level Of Abstraction For System Design


Recently there have been a lot of discussions again about the next level of design abstraction for chip design. Are we there yet? Will we ever get there? Is it SystemC? UML/SysML perhaps? I am taking the approach of simply claiming victory: Over the last 20 years we have moved up beyond RTL in various areas—just in a fragmented way. However, the human limitations on our capacity for processin... » read more

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