0-In Targets Multi-million Gate Designs with Archer Verification System

1/27/2004 - 0-In Design Automation, the Assertion-Based Verification Company, announced availability of the Archer VerificationTM system, a complete verification solution that is equal parts tools and engineered methodology for the most critical verification issues facing design teams developing multi-million gate ASIC and system-on-chip (SoC) devices. Archer Verification adds automation to methodologies, providing an efficient, robust and effective set of solutions usable by all design engineers, not just verification specialists. Archer Verification delivers the RTL-centric methodology of the verification process automation (VPA) initiative announced with partners Verisity Ltd. and Novas Software Inc.

"Providing verification solutions, rather than simply tools, has allowed us to deploy formal verification technologies successfully in many customer projects," said Steve White, 0-In's president and CEO. "We realized early on that creating a usable, repeatable and effective methodology for using formal technologies is as much engineering work as creating the tools themselves. We have focused on combining first class methods with superior technology to put enormous verification power in the hands of engineers doing the front-line verification work on leading-edge SoC designs."

"Throwing only tools or languages at the functional verification problem just won't cut it anymore," said Steve Glaser, vice president of corporate marketing and business development for Verisity. "By automating well-defined processes across block, chip, system and project levels, we can truly achieve a 10x boost in productivity--this is what VPA is all about. With the Archer Verification System, 0-In is clearly helping our joint customers complete their VPA solutions."

"The combination of strong tools and an efficient methodology is at the heart of the VPA collaboration between Novas and 0-In," said Dave Kelf, vice-president of marketing for Novas Software, "With the release of the Archer Verification solution, 0-In has truly provided winning assertion-based technology, further delivering on the VPA concept."

Faster, Better, Measured Verification The Archer Verification system brings verification closure to users through:

"With nearly 20,000 licenses for 0-In products in use, we have a broad range of customer experience on which to draw as we evolve and enhance our product line," said 0-In co-founder and chief architect Richard Ho. "The Archer Verification system leverages that experience to provide comprehensive, packaged solutions that include appropriate tools, verification IP, documentation and co-developed methodologies for specific areas of verification. As customers have told us what works best in the field, we have responded with products that make these methods available to the entire customer base."

Platform Independent, Standards-based Technologies
The Archer Verification system provides horizontal solutions for functional verification based on comprehensive, easy-to-use and powerful verification IP; a technologically superior toolset and methodologies honed on customer designs. The Archer solutions support all the major verification platforms from EDA vendors including those from Cadence, Verisity, Synopsys and Mentor Graphics. It also supports all emerging assertion standards from Accellera and IEEE. By providing platform independent, standards-based advanced functional verification capabilities, Archer gives users the flexibility to choose a simulation infrastructure without sacrificing verification power.

Complete and Robust Verification Methodologies
Archer Verification is the next evolutionary step for assertion-based and formal verification. The Archer solutions target block, sub-system and chip level functional verification. These solutions enable a complete verification methodology that addresses both specification- and register-transfer level (RTL) functionality and corner-cases. In particular, Archer provides methods and tools to execute items of the user's verification plan that cannot be addressed in any other way:

With Archer Verification, customers are provided with methodologies to verify critical items in their own verification plan. Each methodology applies the most efficient, most complete method and set of tools for each particular verification issue. Coverage metrics are provided to measure progress towards closure.

To execute the methodologies efficiently, Archer Verification provides a set of key technologies and capabilities:

Archer Verification includes structural coverage information that complements functional coverage to provide a complete RTL coverage model. Structural coverage measures verification activity within RTL structures such as arbiters and FIFO buffers based on the corner-cases specific to each structure. For example, structural coverage of a FIFO buffer measures whether the FIFO was empty, full or has reached a high-water mark. The structural coverage metrics are integrated with the CheckerWare library and help users identify areas of their designs that require further verification to find corner-case bugs.

Archer Verification also provides a complete exhaustive formal verification capability that includes both static and dynamic formal verification. The Archer Verification methodologies apply formal analysis on verification issues where simulation alone is insufficient. The well-defined methods allow all design and verification engineers to benefit from the power of formal analysis, leading to a predictable improvement in verification time and effort.

Archer Verification Products Address Specific Verification Challenges
Archer-CDV supports a coverage-driven verification (CDV) flow in which metrics are used to gauge the effectiveness of each step in the test plan and to determine which areas of the design need more verification effort. Archer-CDV provides automatic static checks and user-specified assertions running in simulation. Archer-CDV includes the CheckerWare library of verification IP that combines assertion checking with functional coverage collection. CheckerWare library elements also integrate management and debugging capabilities, allowing users to assess both assertion quality and verification completeness.

Archer-SF supports a full static formal (SF) verification flow that can find bugs in designs before a simulation environment is available. Archer-SF provides support for automatic design checks and user-specified assertions. These design checks and assertions can be analyzed using formal static verification engines that produce counterexamples showing ways to violate assertions and proofs if no such violations are possible. Integrated formal verification metrics provide feedback on the quality of the assertions as well as the amount of exhaustive formal analysis performed.

Archer-ABV supports a chip- or system-level verification flow by providing a complete solution with the full range of assertion-based verification (ABV) tools and methodologies and by combining exhaustive formal verification with simulation to find bugs missed by all other methods. Archer-ABV includes the capabilities of Archer-SF and Archer-CDV as well as 0-In's unique dynamic formal verification engines to leverage interesting and hard-to-reach corner-cases exercised in chip- or system-level simulations. By applying formal analysis at the right critical moments, RTL bugs can be found that would otherwise reach silicon. Unified coverage metrics from Archer-ABV provide feedback on the quality of the assertions, the degree of design exercised in simulation and the amount of additional coverage provided by the dynamic formal analysis.

Pricing and Availability
The 0-In Archer Verification System is available immediately. North America list prices are: Archer-CDV $50,000; Archer-SF $60,000; and Archer-ABV $120,000.

About 0-In
0-In Design Automation, Inc. (pronounced "zero-in") develops and supports functional verification products that help verify multi-million gate application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and system-on-chip (SoC) designs. The company delivers a comprehensive assertion-based verification (ABV) solution built on industry standards that provides value throughout the design and verification cycle - from the block level to the chip and system levels. Twelve of the 15 largest electronics companies have adopted 0-In tools and methodologies in their integrated circuit (IC) design verification flows. 0-In was founded in 1996 and is based in San Jose, Calif. For more information, see http://www.0-in.com.

0-In® and CheckerWare® are registered trademarks of 0-In Design Automation, Inc.

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