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October 2006

They Just Don't Get It

I'm on the "Verification Horizons" mailing list from Mentor Graphics.  Today, one of the items caught my attention.  It was a link to an article entitled It's a Matter of Style: SystemVerilog for the e User.  The article describes how, given the lack of AOP in SystemVerilog, a user can implement some of the features available in Specman.  Technically speaking, they are exactly correct.  Anyone using SystemVerilog (especially if you're used to using e) should read the article and follow the recommendations.  However, the conclusions they draw - namely that there is either no difference between SystemVerilog and e or that SystemVerilog is inherently better - are completely false! 

I can't believe that anyone at Mentor has ever written a serious testbench in e.  The article deserves a point-by-point analysis which I don't have time to write up at the moment.  I'll give it a shot over the next week or two.  In the meantime, check out the article, and let me know what you think!


Mixed-Signal Forum - September 19 - Austin DV Club

It's time again for another DV Club luncheon here in Austin this Tuesday, September 19 from 11:00am - 1:30pm at Dave and Buster's.  The last luncheon provided an interesting forum where engineering managers from around town shared their thoughts on verification metrics.  This one should provide some interesting insight into mixed-signal design and verification with Scott Herrington and Aaron Shreeve from Zilker Labs, and Jim Lear from Legerity.  I used to work for Scott when he was the VP of Engineering at ServerEngines.  His team is working on some interesting technology that requires a good understanding of both the analog and digital realms to verify it correctly.  I'm sure Scott and the rest of the guys will do an outstanding job (no pressure, Scott!).

Though I am a big supporter of the concept of DV Club, I want to take this opportunity to address what I see is a bit of a double standard.   According to the DV Club website:

DVClub membership is free and is open to all non-service provider semiconductor professionals. Most members work in verification, but there are also plenty of entrepreneurs, professors, students, managers, investors, and even design engineers that attend. Participation by service providers (solicitors) is limited to event sponsors, which supply the funds for DVClub events.

And this:

Attendance at DVClub events is limited to verification engineers. Service providers (solicitors) may attend as sponsors. If you know of any other segments where sponsorship makes sense and does not conflict with our existing sponsors, send them my way. As long as it low key, we're interested.

The "sponsors" of the event are Cadence and Veriseo.  I was actually removed from the mailing list awhile back, but added back since I'm considered to be a "technical guy". The presentations are not biased towards Cadence or Veriseo, but based on the text above, it would seem that no other service providers would ever be permitted to sponsor or attend a DV Club event, since Cadence supplies just about every type of tool you'd ever want to use, plus provides consulting services, and Veriseo provides staffing services. In addition, representatives from both companies are present in large numbers at the event.

Perhaps I'm being naive, but wouldn't it be nice to have an event that was really open to the entire verification community, service providers and competitors to Cadence and Veriseo included?  Something more like an IEEE event than a way for a select group of sponsors to pull together a captive audience.  Something where attendance and sponsorship is open to all, and where the verification community is pulled together instead of being quietly pulled apart. 

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I think DV Club and the luncheons it sponsors are a really great idea and have been an excellent way to build up the community of verification professionals in the cities it operates in.  It promotes verification as a discipline, which is something that people at many companies fail to understand.  It also allows people to share knowledge and can break down the silos that exist at many companies that prevent the influx of new ideas. It's definitely worthy of your attendance.  But it needs to be understood that the current structure of the event excludes many members of the verification community, and could eventually lead to an organization that becomes an extension of the Cadence and Veriseo marketing departments.  And that is definitely not in the best interest of the verification community.