Building Integrated Verification Flows – Round 2

Verification methodology has been a continuous discussion in our industry for a good 20 years now. I’ve dabbled in that discussion since officially converting to full-time verification engineer back in 2003 but it got serious for me a couple years ago – April 2, 2018 to be exact – when I started a series of posts on my personal blog. I was focused on how the verification community could integrate portable stimulus into an existing verification paradigm.

At the time, I felt excitement noticeably building around the potential of portable stimulus – excitement that continues to build. Also present was uncertainty with respect to how it would be best employed – uncertainty that is becoming less uncertain. Not knowing much about portable stimulus myself, I set out to understand the problems it intended to solve and how it fit with what I already knew.

A few cups of coffee into a late-night solo brainstorm session, I came up with this graphic and corresponding post as a means for describing an ideal verification flow…

The graphic captures what I saw as the productivity sweet spots for a collection of simulation techniques. It evolved into guidelines for how those techniques blend together and culminated in a 30 minute presentation called Building An Integrated Verification Flow which I delivered in the Verification Academy booth at DAC in 2018.

Notwithstanding a failed attempt at mixing in some political humour – that’ll be easy to pick out if you watch the video – I feel this is one of the best talks I’ve ever put together. In an industry that tends toward progressionary adoption of technology where new displaces old, I was presenting old and new as complementary; each delivering value provided they’re used the right way at the right time for the right purpose. It felt like a new way to think about verification methodologies. It earned me a few friends and generated discussion in new circles. But time passed and I guess I reached the point where it felt like I’d squeezed all I could out of it so I went to sleep on it.

A few weeks ago I woke up again.

The alarm went off when I found out I’d been penciled in for an assessment of one of our customer’s verification methodologies. Specifically, I had a short discussion with someone on their engineering team who said “I don’t have a lot of personal experience with Mentor tools so I’d like to get a better feel for the possibilities”.

That was it for me. I was right back to thinking about how it all fits together. Coffee fueled brainstorming resumed. More discussion with colleagues this time around, each pointing out stuff I hadn’t thought of which to me is a clear sign there are new ideas here waiting to be discovered.

Accordingly, I expect this post to be the first of several that come together as we talk our way through possibilities for building integrated verification flows. Consider them an open and active brainstorm; anyone can participate; not exactly sure where it’ll go but I’m certain it’ll be somewhere good.

Unlike past me who was pigeon holed into a simulation only view of the world, new me works with experts that specialize in literally every possible area of verification. That means round 2 restarts with a view that is much more comprehensive. To that end, I’ll be back next week with an updated and much more comprehensive view of the above graphic to officially get the ball rolling.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

-neil

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