The Wolper Method

The Wolper Method
by Bernard Murphy on 06-20-2018 at 11:00 am

If you read around topics in advanced formal verification you’re likely to run into something called Wolper coloring, or what Vigyan Singhal (Chief Oski at Oski) calls the Wolper method. Many domains have specialized techniques but what’s surprising in this instance is a seeming absence of helpful on-line explanations (though… Read More


When FPGA Design Looks More Like ASIC Design

When FPGA Design Looks More Like ASIC Design
by Bernard Murphy on 06-08-2018 at 7:00 am

I am sure there are many FPGA designers who are quite content to rely on hardware vendor tools to define, check, implement and burn their FPGAs, and who prefer to test in-system to validate functionality. But that approach is unlikely to work when you’re building on the big SoC platforms – Zynq, Arria and even the big non-SoC devices.… Read More


Meltdown, Spectre and Formal

Meltdown, Spectre and Formal
by Bernard Murphy on 04-19-2018 at 7:00 am

Once again Oski delivered in their most recent Decoding Formal session, kicking off with a talk on the infamous Meltdown and Spectre bugs and possible relevance of formal methods in finding these and related problems. So far I haven’t invested much effort in understanding these beyond a hand-waving “cache and speculative execution… Read More


Formal: Going Deep and Going Early

Formal: Going Deep and Going Early
by Bernard Murphy on 03-20-2018 at 7:00 am

This year I got a chance to talk with Cadence at DVCon on a whole bunch of topics, so expect a steady stream of blogs over the next couple of months. First up was an update from Pete Hardee (Director of Product Management) on, surprise, surprise, formal verification. I’m always trying to learn more about this space, so I picked a couple… Read More


An Advanced-User View of Applied Formal

An Advanced-User View of Applied Formal
by Bernard Murphy on 03-08-2018 at 7:00 am

Thanks to my growing involvement in formal (at least in writing about it), I was happy to accept an invite to this year’s Oski DVCon dinner / Formal Leadership Summit. In addition to Oski folks and Brian Bailey (an esteemed colleague at another blog site, to steal a Frank Schirrmeister line), a lively group of formal users attended… Read More


Concluding Inconclusives

Concluding Inconclusives
by Bernard Murphy on 03-01-2018 at 7:00 am

Formal methods are a vital complement to other tools in the verification arsenal, but they’re not without challenges. One of the more daunting is the “inconclusive” result – that case where the tool seems to be telling you that it simply gave up trying to figure out if a particular assertion is true or false. Compounding the problem,… Read More


Simulation and Formal – Finding the Right Balance

Simulation and Formal – Finding the Right Balance
by Bernard Murphy on 01-23-2018 at 7:00 am

Simulation dominates hardware functional verification today and likely will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile formal verification, once thought to be a possible challenger for the title, has instead converged on a more effective role as a complement to simulation. Formal excels at finding problems… Read More


System Level Formal

System Level Formal
by Bernard Murphy on 01-09-2018 at 7:00 am

Two recently announced vulnerabilities in major processor platforms should remind us that bugs don’t organize themselves to appear only in domains we know how to test comprehensively. Both Meltdown and Spectre (the announced problems) are potential hardware system-level issues allowed by interactions between speculative… Read More


Verification Trends: 2016

Verification Trends: 2016
by Bernard Murphy on 09-26-2017 at 7:00 am

Periodically Mentor does us all a big favor by commissioning a survey of verification engineers across the world to illuminate trends in verification. This is valuable not only to satisfy our intellectual curiosity but also to help convince managers and finance mandarins that our enthusiasm to invest in new methods and tools … Read More


Getting to IP Functional Signoff

Getting to IP Functional Signoff
by Bernard Murphy on 06-01-2017 at 7:00 am

In the early days of IP reuse and platform-based design there was a widely-shared vision of in-house IP development teams churning out libraries of reusable IP, which could then be leveraged in many different SoC applications. This vision was enthusiastically pursued for a while; this is what drove reusability standards and … Read More