Like most industry events this year, we shifted our Formal Special Interest Group event to virtual and joined forces with Synopsys’ static and low power teams to host a combined event, Verification Day. For this virtual event we had the advantage of reaching out to customers across geographies and time zones which reflected in the highest attendance ever, attendance increased by 3X compared to the last year.
COVID-19 situation has forced all of us into a new normal, which is to work from home and collaborate with team members, partners and customers online. At a company level as well as at an individual level, everyone is trying to be as productive as possible.
As much of world is practicing “social distancing” or some version of it, I would venture to guess that many are getting “cabin fever” from the extended isolation. For me this condition has led to a blurred line between work and home and more interestingly news coverage and formal applications.
It was a beautiful sunny day and traffic on the M40 was light making it a wonderful drive to the Wirral. My wife was browsing on Spotify, I was busy changing lanes and a call comes through. As my wife took the call, the display on my car flickered and then froze! I soon realised that every electrical system except the accelerator and the brakes had failed. At 70 mph on the motorway a cold sweat of fear and panic gripped me as I changed lanes cautiously and nursed the car another ten miles to the nearest service station. True story! Thankfully nothing untoward happened in the end. The car returned to normal after we did a “reboot” of the car’s operating system.
I can’t remember when I last opened a technical manual or document to looked up how to do something. Maybe it was when I bought a 56K modem in 1999 to connect to the World Wide Web.
You are verifying a complex AI or networking chip and found a test failing due to transaction or packet mismatch by scoreboards. As a verification engineer, you would celebrate that you broke the core design intent and found a bug! After hours/days of debugging, all that’s found is a signal on AHB/AXI interface was not connected or a protocol was not followed correctly. Not really a highly effective use of everyone’s time, is it?
Power consumption has been an important consideration for IC designs for a while now. Mobile devices today are more powerful than they’ve ever been. I can stream movies, order food, get turn by turn directions and take incredible quality photos and videos using a single device in my pocket… So long as I can make it to the end of the day without the battery running flat. Nobody wants to be in the middle of an important email when the screen suddenly goes black and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s gone diving into a coffee shop seeking power outlets because of it! These days, we all live with a small amount of power anxiety and 6th sense for hunting down USB sockets and power sources. Combine this with the huge number of servers out there burning power and it’s no surprise that most modern designers are always looking to find that delicate balance of power and performance.
Just over a year ago I wrote a blog about the impact of machine learning (ML) algorithms to boost Formal Verification performance . The data for that blog was firsthand experience on a set of complex benchmarks. The data was amazing and quite convincing, but when I wrote that blog the reader needed to “trust” me as the data could not be shared publicly.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get a head start on some things in life? How great would it be to just be able to walk straight to the front of any queue you find yourself in? For me, I’d like a head start on those long flights from the UK to California. If I could start them somewhere over the Rocky Mountains, then it would be a much more pleasant journey… aside from the mountain waves turbulence! While money, fame or just downright rudeness can potentially get you to the front of a queue, I’m going to have to wait for someone to invent teleportation to cut down that journey time.
Artificial intelligence is a hot topic these days and therefore doesn’t require a repeat of the current and future potential uses for AI. For most people it means technology advancements on the software side but If you ask people who are very close to this technology domain, building your own optimized hardware chips is where significant part of the competitive edge lies.