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SpringSoft adds verification tech to functional qualification

Posted: 16 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:verification  qualification  methodologies 

SpringSoft Inc. has announced new detection automation and checker qualification capabilities in its Certitude Functional Qualification System. The company claims these are among the key innovations developed to quickly identify potential problems in chip verification environments with fewer resources and drive continuous improvements throughout the verification flow.

Certitude is said to be the only commercially available tool to objectively qualify the checking mechanisms and stimuli (tests) used for functional verification of IP modules and SoC designs. The expansion of the Certitude platform is aimed at checking critical functionality earlier and more frequently to ensure with high level of confidence that verification environments are "sign-off" quality.

"More importantly, we're also extending the use model for functional qualification to earlier in the verification flow, and not just a point tool used at the end of the process, to help SoC teams get to signoff sooner with higher quality designs," said George Bakewell, director of product marketing at SpringSoft.

Fault injection & detection
Certitude combines patented automation technology with mutation-based techniques and static analysis to measure effectiveness, identify significant weaknesses and improve the quality of results for HDL simulation-based verification. The system injects faults (artificial mutations) into the register transfer level (RTL) version of designs and runs tests against each fault using the engineer's digital logic simulator of choice. The results provide detailed information on activation, propagation, and error detection capabilities to assess overall verification progress and to find and fix holes, such as missing functional checks, incomplete test scenarios, and infrastructure problems. Analysis of faults that don't propagate or are not detected by the verification environment points to specific problems in the stimuli, observability or checkers with feedback to help correct them.

New fault detection, ranking and tracking functions have been added to Certitude to provide feedback faster, refine results and simplify fault analysis throughout the verification flow. When the Certitude system finds a non-detected (ND) fault, it automatically drops other faults related to that ND fault so as to not waste valuable cycle time. This capability has been refined over multiple software releases, initially based on logic cones. The system now allows fault dropping with an extended logic cone approach that expands the dropping criteria beyond a single cone to further minimise the 'noise' factor. Engineers can find high priority ND faults much faster. The new fault ranking and prioritisation capabilities offer guidance on which ND faults within a specific fault class to analyse first and which test to use for investigation. Test cases for a given ND fault are automatically ranked based on their impact on the output when propagated.


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