Electronic Design

Functional Analyzer Scopes Out SoC Defects In RTL

Expanding predictive analysis technology into the functional space, the Periscope functional analysis tool helps engineers quickly determine whether their RTL design descriptions are functionally correct. Also, the tool helps repair problem areas without having to cycle through simulation and synthesis.

Periscope, developed by Atrenta, anticipates flaws in the design through functional analysis of the RTL code (see the figure). It identifies clocking errors, unreachable code, and tri-state bus conflicts early in the RTL coding process. By doing so, it sidesteps long, costly verification runs later on that may or may not catch these errors.

Using an assertion-based verification engine under the hood for functional analysis, Periscope adds advanced functional algorithms to augment Atrenta's structural clock-domain-crossing (CDC) analysis capability. Because synchronizers are required on signals crossing clock domains, Periscope automatically detects and reports missing or incorrect synchronizers. It also detects other clocking problems, such as improper coding of multibit CDC signals, reconvergent signals, and hold-time issues for fast-to-slow clock crossings.

In addition to CDC analysis, Periscope combines formal techniques and simulation to check for bus contention, control bus synchronization, uninitialized memory, simultaneous set/reset, and other problems. It functionally verifies finite state machines, including searching for unreachable states, deadlocked states, and inactive state transitions. It also detects dead code and functionally validates tri-state buses and case statements.

The tool supports Accellera-standard Open Verification Library assertions, including FIFO overflow and underflow, handshaking checks, and range checks. Atrenta plans to add support for other popular assertion languages, like PSL.

Periscope is available on the Solaris, HP-UX, and Linux platforms. A time-based license starts at $50,000.

Atrenta Inc.

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