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Accellera launches UCI to define verification metrics

Posted: 02 Feb 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Accellera  verification  formal verification  verification standard  IEEE 

Responding to user calls for a consistent way to measure functional-verification completeness, the Accellera standards organisation has launched the Unified Coverage Interoperability (UCI) technical subcommittee. Its goal is to define standards that enable the sharing and analysis of coverage data by different tools during the verification process.

Many verification engineers today use functional- and code-coverage tools to help determine when verification is complete. The coverage tools, however, typically work only for one verification product or for one vendor. But most verification environments include multiple tools from multiple vendors.

"We have a lot of technology in the verification domain—software simulators, hardware accelerators, formal verification—and always the question comes up: 'How much is your coverage?' " said Accellera chairman Shrenik Mehta. "But how do you answer it, with different technologies and tasks? What users are really looking for is a metric that's interoperable between multiple tools."

What verification users want, Mehta said, is an overall coverage metric for a given intellectual-property block or for an entire chip. As of now, he said, attempts to come up with such metrics are "ad hoc at best."

One task faced by the UCI standards effort, Mehta said, is to sort through some terminology. There are different types of coverage with different goals. Mehta said the UCI technical subcommittee will also examine data sources, data capturing and data aggregation to help users come up with a single number. Finally, there's the question of data analysis—how to use the data to improve the verification process.

The stated goals of the UCI technical subcommittee are to define standard coverage models for commonly used metrics, identify interoperability requirements among various coverage sources, define a standard that allows for exchange of coverage data, define standard libraries for representing coverage data, and encourage user and EDA technology advancement for the next generation of coverage solutions. The UCI standard will include terms and definitions of code- and functional-coverage metrics, data formats and an API specification.

Mehta said the UCI technical subcommittee will be headed by Cisco Systems Inc.'s Faisal Haque. There's broad support among Accellera members, including user companies and EDA vendors, Mehta said.

The UCI effort will seek technology donations, he said.

"We're roughly looking for something to come out in about a year's time," Mehta said. The eventual intent, he said, is to bring a standard to the IEEE.

Accellera has been busy last fall. The organisation approved the Open Compression Interface test standard in October and approved a revised version of the VHDL standard that same month. Accellera launched the Unified Power format standards effort in September.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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