Design reuse without verification reuse is useless

December 03, 2012 // By Adnan Hamid
Adnan Hamid of Breker Verification Systems examines how full IP-to-SoC verification reuse can be enabled through the use of scenario models.

For years, design productivity has been assisted by increasing levels of reuse. Many system-on-chip (SoC) designs now contain 10s or even 100s of reused intellectual property (IP) blocks that can constitute in excess of 90% of the gates in a chip. In addition, the size of IP blocks has risen from small peripherals to entire subsystems.

What has happened to total productivity over this same period? Productivity is being constrained by verification, but verification has not seen its reuse needs met by models and tools available on the market. As a result, verification continues to take a greater percentage of total time and budget, constraining product innovation that would otherwise be possible.

While some verification IP (VIP) is available, there is not enough and it does not provide the levels of reuse necessary. As SoC design moves to platform IP, where is the corresponding platform VIP? Where are the fully defined verification environments for platform IP that can be extended to add additional functions without having to understand the parts of the platform that are not being modified? Why is verification reuse so far behind design reuse?

These issues are explored in this article along with a way in which full IP-to-SoC verification reuse can be enabled through the use of scenario models.

Over the past decade, designer productivity has been boosted by reuse. Systems are composed of intellectual property (IP) blocks, each having a well-defined function, and the implementation for these blocks can be used in multiple designs and shared between multiple companies.

This is the IP methodology used to fill a significant portion of the real estate in a chip. IP reuse has allowed companies to concentrate on key parts of their design –– parts that add value and make products competitive. Over time, the size of IP blocks has grown and has extended to what is often called platform-based design where a processor, interconnect and

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