Posted by frank schirrmeister on January 13, 2011
Watching today’s electronics projects reminds me of playing Monopoly when growing up. The term “Gehen Sie nicht über Los” has become somewhat proverbial in German language for “game over” situations. It is printed on the card in Monopoly which sends you directly to jail, does not let you pass the starting field and does not grant you the per round income. Missing a deadline in a project can be like that, only the result is not jail but a dead project, a dead company or a pivotal point in a project manager’s career. And that’s where system-level design comes in to the rescue ….
In day to day situations when discussing with customers the value of system-level design, I am trying to use their language and visualizations they are used to. This week Mazda announced the adoption virtual prototyping for Electronic Control Unit (ECU) verification. This makes me think of the specifics of the automotive world and how nice some of their visualizations can explain the value of system-level design.
Common visualization in automotive is the V-diagram as shown on the left. From Vehicle requirements the specification process proceeds through system design sub-system design, ECU specification to the actual ECU development. Once the ECU is done, the development process is on its upswing of integration, testing the ECUs, integrating sub-systems to verify them within the system and finally validating the vehicle.
This makes me think of Monopoly because finding a defect late in the development cycle and potentially not being able to fix it is like going directly to jail, it leads you back into the downward phase of this process. And, like in Monopoly, you certainly won’t collect any additional bonus here.
However, if one applies virtualization – virtual prototypes for example, then that means essentially moving the whole integration phase to the left. As a result that means more tests on virtual prototypes earlier, augmenting the use of hardware prototypes later in the project. As John Day writes in his this story on the Mazda adoption, together with time savings, users will find less bugs during the traditional hardware software integration phase. They can also do more directed testing, i.e. produce corner cases which are hard to re-produce or even dangerous in real life tests.
And of course they can collect their money during the next round, just like in Monopoly when having the “get-out-of-jail-free” card.
Patrick Sheridan is responsible for Synopsys' system-level solution for virtual prototyping. In addition to his responsibilities at Synopsys, from 2005 through 2011 he served as the Executive Director of the Open SystemC Initiative (now part of the Accellera Systems Initiative). Mr. Sheridan has 30 years of experience in the marketing and business development of high technology hardware and software products for Silicon Valley companies.
Malte Doerper is responsible for driving the software oriented virtual prototyping business at Synopsys. Today he is based in Mountain View, California. Malte also spent over 7 years in Tokyo, Japan, where he led the customer facing program management practice for the Synopsys system-level products. Malte has over 12 years’ experiences in all aspects of system-level design ranging from research, engineering, product management and business development. Malte joined Synopsys through the CoWare acquisition, before CoWare he worked as researcher at the Institute for Integrated Signal Processing Systems at the Aachen University of Technology, Germany.
Tom De Schutter
Tom De Schutter is responsible for driving the physical prototyping business at Synopsys. He joined Synopsys through the acquisition of CoWare where he was the product marketing manager for transaction-level models. Tom has over 10 years of experience in system-level design through different marketing and engineering roles. Before joining the marketing team he led the transaction-level modeling team at CoWare.