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Predictable Verification; Part 2

Bryan Dickman & Joe Convey

19 Feb 2024

"Shift left, shift down..."

In our last blog we asked the question, "What does your verification campaign look like in terms of cost of product development, schedule for delivery, and quality of the end product?". In this blog we offer a new scenario with a revised verification campaign compared to the original "baseline".

In figure 1, you can see the overall shape of the campaign has altered and the focus of the verification effort has shifted-left to the earlier product development phases.

There is much less effort applied to the final sign-off phase of the project because the earlier testing has yielded a much more stable design earlier,

thus reducing the risk of post-release bug escapes. The quality of the delivered product at final release stage is likely to be higher.

Note also from this scenario, that although the volume of testing is the same as the baseline example in the last blog (120M tests in total), the cost is reduced and the delivery timeframe is shortened. This is because in this project,

effort has been applied to improve testbench performance from an average of 34s per test to an average of 26 seconds per test.

The effectiveness of the verification may be the same as previously, but the efficiency has improved by almost 25%. This may have been achieved by some code refactoring of system-verilog testbenches, or the RTL code itself, or it may be down to some re-architecting of the RTL and/or testbenches.

Alternatively, there could have been a performance improvement in the underlying compute platform (faster CPUs, faster storage), or the EDA tools themselves may be more optimal.

Either way, the benefits of this efficiency gain are clear to see. Cost has been saved whilst achieving the same levels of verification testing, and the schedule has been reduced so the product gets to market more quickly, and the peak number of slots requried is less. Therefore, the time and effort investment required to improve verification efficiency can be quickly realised and justified.

Figure 1 the Shift-Left, Shift-down scenario.

Further, the final quality is likely to have been improved thanks to the shift-left in the verification campaign.

In other words, the ROI of this product has been improved

These analytics would normally be a reflection of the results you have achieved through the optimisations mentioned above. They could equally be a scenario you generate at the beginning of a project to model methodology or engineering platform improvements necessary to achieve a shift-left, shift down objective.

Although shift-left, shift-down is desirable, given the likely increase in project complexity over time, how do you maintain quality and time-to-market objectives, whilst spending the same on resources.....? Sometimes you have to ask, "am I spending enough?".

Look out for our next blogs which explore these scenarios.

To discuss your particular verification campaign challenges, Silicon Insights offer independent consultancy and data engineering technology, backed up with years of experience and insights in how to model scenarios, exploit your data, and drive predictable delivery into your organisation.


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