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Breaking The Three Laws
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    Breaking the Three Laws is dedicated to discussing technically challenging ASIC prototyping problems and sharing solutions.
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    Michael (Mick) Posner joined Synopsys in 1994 and is currently Director of Product Marketing for Synopsys' DesignWare USB Solutions. Previously, he was the Director of Product Marketing for Physical (FPGA-based) Prototyping and has held various product marketing, technical marketing manager and application consultant positions at Synopsys. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the University of Brighton, England.

Jim Hogan falls prey to HAPS cloak of invisibility

Posted by Michael Posner on April 29th, 2013

I used to own a Ford F350 truck and it was huge with the long wheel base, full bed, extended crew cab measuring a length of about 25 feet (8 meters). The problem was that it came installed with a cloak of invisibility. I didn’t know it had a cloak of invisibility when I purchased but soon after while driving it down the freeway (motorway) a small car merged into the side of me. Unsurprisingly I won that battle and when I asked the other driver how it happened they responded “I didn’t see you”. Wait a second my truck is 25 feet long and that day I was towing a 25 feet long fully enclosed car hauler meaning I was over 50 feet long. How do you not see that…….. That’s when I realized that this truck came with the unadvertised cloak of invisibility option.

So what has this got to do with Jim Hogan you all ask….. well read on and find out.

The cloak of invisibility must be an undocumented feature of the HAPS product line as Jim Hogan wrote a complete article on emulation with mention of prototyping and managed not to mention HAPS once (well ok, once but that was in a table and that was the only mention). I should state that I do not know Jim personally and hold nothing against him. Jim’s article was pretty good but I am afraid I have to personally doubt the credibility of the data when the highest quality and most well-known FPGA-Based Prototyping product, HAPS, didn’t get a proper mention. Jim what were you thinking!!!!  Jim’s article focused on emulation but draws reference to FPGA-Based prototyping a number of times which is why I think HAPS should have been included in the article.

I have to believe that this omission was due to the undocumented HAPS cloak of invisibility. Jim; contact me and let’s solve this mystery.

What also got me all riled up was the following;

  • All FPGA-based solutions are “Emulators”

Not so! Jim included FPGA-based prototypes in the discussion – referring to them as “low-capacity emulators” (and never mentioned HAPS). Emulators focus on Verification providing a high level of automation and debug.  FPGA-based prototypes focus on Validation providing the high performance needed for software development and system validation with real world IO. I’ve blogged about the differences in the past (here).  Below is a recap of that incredible blog with simple graphics

I love the above analogy. You own both but depending on the task at hand you pick the right tool for the job.

The following simplifies the difference between Verification and Validation. While they both start with the letter V the goals are very difference which is why both emulation and prototyping play an important part of an SoC’s development.

Oh, I should also apologize for being tardy on my blog post this time around. I’ve been traveling a lot and when weighing up either writing a blog or sleeping, sleep always won.

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