Ok, this has got to be one of the stranger things I've found on the web. Apparently there are people who like to take pictures by throwing their cameras around! Not for the faint of heart, but the pictures are pretty amazing!
Back in August, Denali launched Blueprint, a tool to automate "the generation and management of the hundreds, and often thousands, of control registers used in complex chip designs as a source for efficiency improvements in system-on-chip (SoC) design."
According to Denali, "Blueprint is used by chip design teams to automate the creation and management of control registers, and all related models, design views and documentation. From a register description language (RDL) input, Blueprint generates views for hardware and software development, verification, and documentation. Supported output formats include Verilog, C, C++, OpenVera, e, OVL, Frame, HTML, SPIRIT-compatible XML, MS-Word and more."
I haven't had the opportunity to try Blueprint yet, but I've used similar tools at other companies. A common concern among engineers who are introduced to such a tool is that using the same code as a starting point for both the design and verification leads to both environments having the same functionality, implying they will also have the same errors.
A few months back I wrote about my initial impressions of Vera. I recently completed the testbench I started back in September. Here are some of the things I learned along the way.
I'm used to cold weather from growing up in the Midwest. Temperatures in the 20s (F) were cold but never a good enough reason to miss school (to my continual disappointment). Now that I'm living in Austin, Texas, temperatures in the 20s take on a whole new meaning. The entire city is shut down today due to a nice thin glaze of ice that has covered many of the bridges and overpasses as a result of freezing rain overnight. It's a bit of a shock to the system given that just a few weeks ago we had temperatures in the 80s. The temperature rarely gets below freezing in Austin, so in addition to ice on the roads one also ends up worrying about freezing pipes and dead plants if it stays cold for too long.
On the bright side, according to at least one newscaster kids will be able to have fun sledding on some of the icy hills around town... The guy who said this has apparently never lived somewhere that got real snow during the winter!
Wow... Sun announced today that they'll be open sourcing the SPARC design database and associated verification environment:
Today, Sun also announced plans to publish specifications for the UltraSPARC-based chip, including the source of the design expressed in Verilog, a verification suite and simulation models, instruction set architecture specification (UltraSPARC Architecture 2005) and a Solaris OS port. The goal is to enable community members to build on proven technology at a markedly lower cost and to innovate freely. The source code will be released under an Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved open source license.
Also check out "Open Source Hardware?".
This ties in nicely with the comments I've made earlier on this blog describing the benefits to be obtained from open-sourcing hardware verification environments.
Update (February 10, 2006) - For info about static partitioning, check out my post entitled "Static vs. Dynamic Partitions".
Update (January 29, 2006) - FYI for those of you who have been having similar problems to the ones described below - I was able to boot up successfully using the 2.6.14-1.1656_FC4 kernel. If you're still having problems with a the latest FC4 kernel you're on your own!
I've been using VMware for the last several months to allow me to run the productivity apps I prefer (MS Office, iTunes, Picasa, etc) on my laptop while giving me the ability to run EDA tools under FC4. A recent kernel upgrade has started causing me problems, though. I can boot up just fine with the 2.6.12-1.1456_FC4 kernel but all hell breaks loose when I try to run the 2.6.14-1.1637_FC4 or 2.6.14-1.1644_FC4 kernels.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how it would be interesting if companies open-sourced their verification infrastructure. I've also previously mentioned that Sun was giving away much of their Java development software for free. Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's President and Chief Operating Officer, posted a defense of their efforts to give away their software for free on his blog. The question I have is if his strategy would work with verification tools in the case where the software will only be used by developers (as Jonathan states that people like developers are unlikely to pay for tools but instead will try to get them for free).