Does Design Verification Have a
           Future?
     One consultant’s point of view




                   1           ...
Current Trends Indicate

 Not a very good one!

  The important question is
 “Does design have a future?”




            ...
Current Trends
1.    Boredom
2.    ASIC designs are way down
3.    Few large companies headquartered in our area
4.    Few...
Does Design Have a Future?
• A lot of IP in use
• A lot of reuse
• Heavy pricing pressures
• A lot of things that often ch...
Some Basic Observations - 1980
• 1980 starting salary was about $21K
   – About $51K in today’s dollars
• Apple II, Norths...
Some Basic Observations - 1980
• Which technology would win was still debatable
   – ECL, TTL, DTL, CMOS, NMOS
• ASIC (Gat...
Some Basic Observations - 1980
• Startups were relatively rare
• Stock options were rare
  – What to do with them was a my...
Some Basic Observations - 1980
• A typical mistake by a typical engineer
  could cost the company hundreds of dollars
• A ...
Some Basic Observations - 1993
• My first laptop - 1993
  –   4 Meg of RAM
  –   80 Meg of disk
  –   33 MHz
  –   $1675 –...
What am I trying to show?
• Hardware seems more static than in the past
   –   Few design options – ASIC, FPGA, CMOS
   – ...
Another Observation
• In the past hardware seemed to lead the
  consumer market
• Today, hardware follows the consumer
  m...
What have caused the biggest impacts?
1. Synthesis tools applied to a modeling
   language
2. More than two signal layers ...
What have also contributed?

Fast printers                 Faster computers
Ethernet                      Faster simulator...
Things that don’t seem to be helping
 • Behavioral Synthesis
   – Abstract up a little and you get too many knobs
   – Abs...
What do all these have in common?


   They are all old innovations




                 15               Robert Fredieu
Silly Things I’ve Heard and Seen
• We can’t outsource to a site 20 miles away
  – Today this same group outsources to Indi...
Silly Continued
• In college I heard that we simply needed 2X
  performance and 4X memory and we would
  have AI.
• Plans ...
More Silliness
•   A 5 million gate ASIC’s verification being
    considered done with 2 CPU hours worth
    of tests
•   ...
More
• A bi-coastal project where one coast said
  that async reset can’t work and the other
  said sync reset can’t work....
And more
• Multi-cast is required
• IPV6 is required and IPV4 is about to be
  abandoned – this in 1997
• Threads are so i...
And more
• The fact that it cost more to buy the parts
  than what the complete machine sold for
  was not a problem
  – I...
What is the thread
• Money wasted!




                  22          Robert Fredieu
What to do?
• Don’t be a DV engineer – be a hardware engineer
• Try to save money on the project
   – Manpower is the key ...
What to do?
• Innovate for good reasons
• Drop Useless Innovation
• Think back about things you have been
  involved with ...
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Fredieu shall we have a future

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Fredieu shall we have a future

  1. 1. Does Design Verification Have a Future? One consultant’s point of view 1 Robert Fredieu
  2. 2. Current Trends Indicate Not a very good one! The important question is “Does design have a future?” 2 Robert Fredieu
  3. 3. Current Trends 1. Boredom 2. ASIC designs are way down 3. Few large companies headquartered in our area 4. Few startups 5. Signing authority is way down 6. Consulting is getting better 7. “Technology” indicates other things 8. Little mention of this industry in state politics 9. Nice, free trinkets are now rare 10. Lower pay 3 Robert Fredieu
  4. 4. Does Design Have a Future? • A lot of IP in use • A lot of reuse • Heavy pricing pressures • A lot of things that often changed are becoming static • A lot of consumer products • Seems like a lot of designs are no longer on the Moore’s Law curve 4 Robert Fredieu
  5. 5. Some Basic Observations - 1980 • 1980 starting salary was about $21K – About $51K in today’s dollars • Apple II, Northstar, etc. were the available home computer • Basic and Fortran were the common languages • Design was primarily SSI using some available LSI – Verification was simply lab debug • ASIC design was rare – The name was not even in use • The calculator and digital watch booms were fading 5 Robert Fredieu
  6. 6. Some Basic Observations - 1980 • Which technology would win was still debatable – ECL, TTL, DTL, CMOS, NMOS • ASIC (Gate Array) design was typically a few hundred gates – and yet it still took 18 months • 64Kbit single voltage DRAMs were just appearing – Multi voltage • PALs were just coming into their own • Graphics was limited • Which OS would win was debatable 6 Robert Fredieu
  7. 7. Some Basic Observations - 1980 • Startups were relatively rare • Stock options were rare – What to do with them was a mystery – Stock purchase plans were available • IPO was the goal 7 Robert Fredieu
  8. 8. Some Basic Observations - 1980 • A typical mistake by a typical engineer could cost the company hundreds of dollars • A typical engineer did diverse things – Power calculations – Hand done timing – Board design – Signal integrity – Power integrity – Soldering – Vector generation 8 Robert Fredieu
  9. 9. Some Basic Observations - 1993 • My first laptop - 1993 – 4 Meg of RAM – 80 Meg of disk – 33 MHz – $1675 – $2336 in 2006 dollars • My current laptop - 2005 – 1 Gig of RAM – 256X – 80 Gig of disk – 1000X – 1.3 GHz – 39X – About $1900 – 0.81X 9 Robert Fredieu
  10. 10. What am I trying to show? • Hardware seems more static than in the past – Few design options – ASIC, FPGA, CMOS – Easily predicted path – Moore’s Law – Fewer platforms – Easy to segment the jobs • Software is a little less static – Lots of languages – Lots of free software – Still a lot of old software • The basic products are static 10 Robert Fredieu
  11. 11. Another Observation • In the past hardware seemed to lead the consumer market • Today, hardware follows the consumer market • The resulting business climate is not necessarily friendly to engineers – Razor thin margins are unfriendly 11 Robert Fredieu
  12. 12. What have caused the biggest impacts? 1. Synthesis tools applied to a modeling language 2. More than two signal layers on a board and in VLSI 3. Advanced C compilers • Helps at so many levels 4. Advanced packaging 5. Scan 6. Emacs and VI 12 Robert Fredieu
  13. 13. What have also contributed? Fast printers Faster computers Ethernet Faster simulators Workstations More memory Verification languages Word processors Waveform viewers Coverage Phones Randomization 13 Robert Fredieu
  14. 14. Things that don’t seem to be helping • Behavioral Synthesis – Abstract up a little and you get too many knobs – Abstract up a lot and you have IP • Formal verification – Can’t get people to do it • Differences in the verification languages – Verilog, VHDL, C/C++, SystemC, E, SystemVerilog, Vera 14 Robert Fredieu
  15. 15. What do all these have in common? They are all old innovations 15 Robert Fredieu
  16. 16. Silly Things I’ve Heard and Seen • We can’t outsource to a site 20 miles away – Today this same group outsources to India • Over budget project with 5 consultants kept on for 6 months “just in case” • One company developing 3 essentially identical routers at the same time – Different markets 16 Robert Fredieu
  17. 17. Silly Continued • In college I heard that we simply needed 2X performance and 4X memory and we would have AI. • Plans to buy an accelerator to speed up 20 minutes of simulations. • Plans to use an emulator to get 300X when the simulation environment could be sped up 20X with a week of work 17 Robert Fredieu
  18. 18. More Silliness • A 5 million gate ASIC’s verification being considered done with 2 CPU hours worth of tests • Deciding RTL is reusable when it was not designed to be, has no documentation, and the designers are gone • Nroff used as a benchmark on a supercomputer 18 Robert Fredieu
  19. 19. More • A bi-coastal project where one coast said that async reset can’t work and the other said sync reset can’t work. • Not doing scan to save money • Picking a startup company to go to simply on the volume (number) of shares • The fact that almost every day to day term has a slightly different definition at every company 19 Robert Fredieu
  20. 20. And more • Multi-cast is required • IPV6 is required and IPV4 is about to be abandoned – this in 1997 • Threads are so important that we need special hardware in the cache and address translation units – this in 1983 • Video conferencing will be ubiquitous • Madonna will be coming to a warehouse turned into office space for an interview 20 Robert Fredieu
  21. 21. And more • The fact that it cost more to buy the parts than what the complete machine sold for was not a problem – I suggested saving money by going to a kit form • Busses that will all be the next major bus – FutureBus+, SCI, Infiniband, etc. 21 Robert Fredieu
  22. 22. What is the thread • Money wasted! 22 Robert Fredieu
  23. 23. What to do? • Don’t be a DV engineer – be a hardware engineer • Try to save money on the project – Manpower is the key here • Suggest project ideas that meet the companies’ goals – not yours • Chop excess features and complexity – In design and verification • Schedule properly -- some projects should die • Don’t fret over off shoring • Try to remember that your company is not a democracy 23 Robert Fredieu
  24. 24. What to do? • Innovate for good reasons • Drop Useless Innovation • Think back about things you have been involved with that were a waste of money 24 Robert Fredieu

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