In my recent EDA Forecast article, I mentioned how emulation is taking a greater role in verification. Even Wally Rhines, CEO of Mentor Graphics, has gone so far as to say that emulation will gradually become a larger and larger portion of verification and gradually replace simulation, although it would never totally replace it. For an emulation-based strategy to work well, there must be a strong technical foundation for it to build upon. Standards like Accellera’s Standard Co-Emulation Modeling Interface (SCE-MI) specification are part of that foundation, helping to reduce the effort required to get a system into an emulation or prototyping environment for verification.
That foundation is further bolstered by Accellera's latest version of the SCE-MI specification. Version 2.1 speeds up verification by enabling a model developed for simulation to run in an emulation environment and vice versa. Getting systems into an emulation or prototyping environment requires that the models at the boundaries—transactors—be as similar as possible to those that would have been used in a simulation environment. Version 2.1 has added support for a subset of the SystemVerilog Direct Programming Interface (DPI), which is available in most simulators. It also adds a new transaction pipe interface in the form of a streaming, variable-length messaging system, which reduces the number of synchronizations when compared to other available methodologies. Efficiency across the interface is paramount to getting the best possible utilization of the hardware, and these new capabilities add more control over when and how traffic moves around the system
The SCE-MI standard provides an easy way to connect and migrate transactor models between simulation, emulation, and rapid-prototyping environments. It can substantially improve the productivity of verification engineers. Model portability enhancements for transaction-level verification on heterogeneous platforms make it worthwhile for more developers to support SCI-MI-based models and for more users to make it part of their verification methodology.
A previous version of the standard, SCE-MI 2.0, was approved by the Accellera Board in May 2007. Version 2.1 of the specification is a free download from the Accellera website.