Thought Leadership

Applying Portable Stimulus at DAC

By Matthew Ballance

It’s that time of year once again – DAC is just around the corner! I’m very excited to be able to attend this year, especially because there promises to be significant interest again this year in the emerging Accellera Portable Stimulus Standard (PSS).

If you’re attending DAC, visiting Mentor’s Verification Academy booth is a great place to learn more about portable stimulus! Mentor’s Questa inFact tool has been in the market going all the way back to 2008, and we have been deeply involved in driving development of the standard in the Accellera Portable Stimulus Working Group.

On Monday morning at 10am, stop by the Verification Academy booth to learn more about the emerging Portable Stimulus standard with Tom Fitzpatrick. You’ll learn about key features of the standard, and how they apply to verification in UVM and embedded software.

On Tuesday morning at 10am, stop by the Verification Academy booth to learn more about how portable stimulus is applied with the Questa inFact tool. While much of the buzz in the industry centers on using portable stimulus at SoC level, our users have found valuable applications for portable stimulus at IP block, subsystem, and SoC level. I’ll be presenting about how using Questa inFact enables verification teams to achieve 10-100x more verification with the same resources.

Between standards and tools is methodology, which is critical to making users productive with standards and standards-compliant tools. Just think about how critical UVM has been to making verification engineers productive in creating and reusing testbench environments! On Tuesday evening from 5-6pm, be sure to stop by the Designer/IP Track poster presentation to see my poster on methodology for reusing test firmware from IP to SoC. Getting an early start developing test firmware is critical to resolving simple hardware/software bugs early, and ensuring a stable platform of firmware exists when bringing up the SoC. My paper presents a compatibility API that allows the same test firmware to run in a block-level environment in simulation, a subsystem or SoC-level environment in emulation, and on a prototype. This reuse of test firmware just compounds the benefits delivered by reusing test intent with portable stimulus!

If you’ll be at DAC, I hope to see you at the Verification Academy booth and get a chance to talk with you about your thoughts on portable stimulus and the art of verification.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at