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The profile of a data-driven IC design verification tool


Each generation of IC design technology introduces new levels of complexity, and logic verification teams face a host of new challenges due to this dramatic rise in IC design complexity. As a result, design closure, knowing engineers have done enough of the right kind of verification to ensure that design will work flawlessly, has become a key challenge for IC developers.

Industry watchers say that logic verification traditionally consumes over 70% of the overall IC development cycle. A study from Wilson Research acknowledges this premise by stating that verification teams achieving first-silicon success has declined from 31% in 2014 to just 24% in 2022. It represents the lowest level recorded in the past 20 years.

Siemens EDA claims to have a solution to this IC design challenge: Questa Verification IQ software. It’s a data-driven verification solution that accelerates verification closure, streamlines traceability, optimizes resources, and speeds time-to-market. Questa Verification IQ is tightly integrated with Siemens’ Polarion REQUIREMENTS software to facilitate a platform that automatically captures all data from all engines IC designers run across the project cycle.

That, in turn, enables IC designers to manage requirements, coding, testing, and release management across the entire IC design and verification process. The new verification tool, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, unifies coverage data from formal and simulation engines like OneSpin software, Symphony platform for analog and mixed-signal simulation, and Veloce hardware for emulation and prototyping.

Next, the machine learning (ML) functionality in Questa Verification IQ analyzes the data to predict patterns and holes, identify root causes, and prescribe solutions to potential issues. Case in point: wireless and IoT chip supplier Nordic Semiconductor, an early adopter of Questa Verification IQ, has been able to replace the manual effort of gathering regression information with automated live status by using this tool. “Questa Verification IQ provides us with a central portal with high-level trending,” said Christoffer Amlo, verification team leader at Nordic Semiconductor.

Questa Verification IQ is a data-driven solution aiming to speed and simplify the verification process while tied to Siemens’ Polarion REQUIREMENTS software. Source: Siemens EDA

Darron May, product manager for VM, debug and coverage at Siemens EDA, said that a data-driven approach is the answer to the ever-increasing IC design complexity that has amplified functional verification challenges. He added that data is key to any improvement as the amount of data created and consumed over the past decade has increased by 50x.

“Data is now king with the emergence of mass storage capabilities and modern compute infrastructure,” May said. “It’s also key to machine learning-driven approach which will revolutionize verification with analytics and traceability features.”

Besides analytics and traceability, collaboration is the third major driver in the data-centric verification approach. Questa Verification IQ—implemented in a web-based application framework with device and OS independence—allows global engineering teams to collaborate in real-time and thus accelerate the verification process with real-time project visibility. “It enables greater collaboration across teams and geographies during the verification process, significantly reducing closure times,” said Tran Nguyen, senior director of design services at Arm.

Questa Verification IQ supports public, private, and hybrid cloud configurations with native collaboration and centralized data access. It’s also fully integrated with popular Continuous Integration (CI) tools such as Jenkins to automate workflows.