Electronic Design

Consortium Specifies Common Emulation Interface

Phase one of a specification for a common emulation application interface has been released by the SCE-API Consortium. With this development, third parties and competing emulation vendors can use a common interface to connect third-party tools and proprietary software to all emulators that support the solution.

The application programming interface (API) enables verification tools running on the host workstation to co-emulate at up to 1 MHz. Early adopters of the interface are currently seeing performance in the 100- to 700-kHz range. The powerful and easy-to-implement API also lets vendors integrate their emulation solutions with third-party solutions, such as intelligent test benches and system-level design tools.

"The consortium is a major breakthrough for the benefit of users. The API will allow users of emulation to more easily interface software models and tools from organizations that supply technologies such as intelligent test benches and C-and-C-like modeling environments," said Gerard Mas, manager of the functional verification center of competence at STMicroelectronics' CMG division.

One of SCE-API's founding members, IKOS Systems, donated the Common API phase-one foundation technology to the group. The API initially was developed to enable C models running on a workstation to communicate with the design under test running in the IKOS VStation emulator. IKOS has agreed to work with the other founding members to put the fundamental technology in the public domain. The resulting transaction-oriented modeling interface for emulators provides multiple message-passing channels between software models running on a host workstation and RTL models running in an emulator.

"Now that emulation has become widely accepted as the best option for full chip and system verification of large SoC designs, EDA companies must join forces and collaborate to more easily integrate leading-edge tools with the unsurpassed combination of speed, capacity, and debug capabilities of emulation," said Ramon Nunez, president and CEO of IKOS Systems. "The efficient integration of these capabilities in the user's design flow will result in a major leap forward in dealing with the design verification challenge our customers face."

The consortium, formed at DAC 2000, comprises Aptix Corp., CoWare, IKOS Systems, Mentor Graphics, STMicroelectronics, Synopsys, and TransEDA. It's currently working with two existing standards organizations, the Open SystemC Initiative (OSCI) and Accellera. Both have expressed interest in making the common emulation API technology available to the public through their organizations.

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