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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

What ESL Is Really About


There has been an almost constant disagreement between the generally held view about what ESL is and my own views on the subject. It is not completely surprising, given that I have spent most of my time as a verification specialist working within the EDA industry. EDA has been driven by design, and all of the largest EDA companies grew out of advances on the design side. [getkc id="10" kc_na... » read more

What Is ‘Digital’?


I saw a LinkedIn article with this title a couple of weeks ago and was curious. Do we not know what digital is and do we need to question it? When I read the first line I was very surprised and somewhat confused. Ved Sen, the author said that, “Despite working in the digital space for years, now I was quite stumped a few weeks ago when I was asked to define it.” Why would digital be so d... » read more

Why Implementation Matters To System Design And Software


There has been quite some discussion in the recent past how well abstraction really works in enabling system design and verification. As I admitted in “Confessions of an ESL-Aholic” a while back, I have revised my view significantly over the years. While thinking originally of abstraction more as an panacea, it turns out that important decisions and analyses, such as for power and performan... » read more

How Many Levels Of Abstraction Are Needed?


Recently I was having a conversation with a user who was creating cycle accurate SystemC models. My initial thought was, "Why would this be necessary?" Through the course of discussions I realized that he did have a design questions that required that level of accuracy and the simulation performance trade-offs were appropriate for his needs. His cycle accurate SystemC models were running at abo... » read more

Big Shift In SoC Verification


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss software-driven verification with Ken Knowlson, principal engineer at Intel; Mark Olen, product manager for the Design Verification Technology Division of Mentor Graphics; Steve Chappell, senior manager for CAE technology and verification at Synopsys; Frank Schirrmeister, group director for product marketing of the System Development Suite at Cadenc... » read more

Abstractions: The Good, Bad And Ugly


Raising the level of abstraction has become almost a mantra among chipmakers and tools developers. By moving the vantage point up a couple rungs on the ladder, it’s easier to see how the individual parts of a design go together, to identify problems in the design as well as fixes to problems, and it all can happen much more quickly. That’s the theory, at least. And in most cases, it’s ... » read more

Divide, Abstract And Conquer


For years, the motto among design and verification engineers has been to look at the individual pieces of a design because it’s impossible to have a single tool or even an integrated collection of tools that can debug everything. That approach isn’t changing, but the method for getting there is. The driver behind this shift is a familiar one—growing complexity. Even platforms and subsy... » read more

The Best Abstraction


By Jon McDonald The other day I was asked what would be the best level of abstraction to model at for system-level design. This is a question I get, in one form or another, far too often. It reminds me of an old quote attributed to Lincoln, slightly updated and applied to this subject: “One model can answer some of the questions all of the time, and all of the questions some of the time, but... » read more

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