Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) announced it has expanded the comprehensive Questa(TM) verification solution, which combines tools, methodology and industry partners to deliver a new level of verification productivity and efficiency to today’s designers. The announcement includes the new Questa 6.3 functional verification platform addressing low-power verification, and powerful verification management capabilities that enable closed-loop management reporting, analysis and documentation. It also includes improved debugging and version 3.0 of the industry’s first open-source standards-based Advanced Verification Methodology (AVM).
“Power and complexity are the two design drivers that are impacting today’s verification flows,” said Robert Hum, vice president and general manager of Mentor Graphics Design Verification and Test division. “Complexity is also an increasing issue with tool environments. With the Questa 6.3 functional verification platform, we’re solving these issues by delivering the critical new capabilities required by today’s designers while simultaneously eliminating many of the tool and integration issues that complicate today’s flows. The combination enables the increase in productivity that teams need to be successful with today’s designs.”
Verify Low-power Behavior in RTL
Effectively managing power consumption is a critical design issue in many markets. The increasing size of today’s designs has made traditional post-place and route insertion and verification of low-power design techniques such as power gating and retention impractical. The Questa 6.3 functional verification platform includes new simulation technology that enables verification of power control logic at RTL (register transfer level) before synthesis when it is easier to validate and repair issues in the system power architecture implementation.
With Questa 6.3, designers can specify low-power design intent without modifying their RTL code – reducing any costly re-verification of existing intelectual property (IP) blocks. Questa 6.3 accurately simulates shutdown and power-up behavior to verify that the chip operates as intended in all system power states. To support the common use of retention in today’s designs, Questa 6.3 allows the easy specification of retention capabilities with inferred flip-flops and latches as well as memories in the RTL design. These features enable identification of difficult bugs such as the interaction of register clock and reset signals with the save, restore and retention states early in the design cycle.
Mentor Graphics supports the Accellera Unified Power Format (UPF). The Questa Power Configuration File was donated to Accellera and was used in the development of this new industry standard that offers portability of low power design data and interoperability of tools in a low-power design flow.
Comprehensive Closed-loop Verification Management Delivers Actionable Metrics
Designers are faced with massive amounts of data from their verification tools. Getting actionable information from this sea of data is the key to verification productivity. The Questa 6.3 verification platform features a verification management toolset that includes a Unified Coverage Database (UCDB) that collects and manages all verification data, automatic import of verification plans written in Microsoft Word and Excel and XML, and a tracking and reporting system that closes the verification loop by delivering coverage information mapped to the verification plan.
Questa Verification Manager optimizes the verification process by identifying redundant tests, tests that achieve a specific purpose – highest coverage within a given amount of simulation time or tests that hit specific coverage areas – and the functional areas that have not yet been verified. These actionable metrics enable verification teams to improve efficiency and reduce time to coverage.
Improving Debugging Reduces Repair Times
The bottleneck within verification is the time it takes to analyze and resolve bugs. Questa 6.3 introduces new capabilities to speed the debug process including graphical and source-based traceability of incorrect results to their root cause and an innovative assertion debug capability. Questa’s Assertion Thread Viewer provides a graphical view of the evaluation of an assertion or coverage property from initial activation until final pass or failure. This functionality provides all the information needed to understand why an assertion passed or failed as well as improving the quality of assertions by identifying poorly written properties that can severely impact simulation performance.
AVM 3.0 Extends First Open Source Verification Methodology
The Mentor Advanced Verification Methodology (AVM) is the first true system-level-to-RTL verification methodology. The AVM integrates advanced verification techniques like constrained-random stimulus, functional coverage and assertions into a single transaction level modeling (TLM)-based framework implemented in both SystemC and SystemVerilog. All AVM libraries are available in source code format in both SystemVerilog and SystemC. AVM 3.0 now includes improved management and reporting features, more top-level environments for integrating 3rd-party IP and a revamped Verification Cookbook – the AVM end user manual – that includes new material on object-oriented programming and working with modules.
Product Availability and Pricing
The Questa 6.3 verification platform will ship in Q2 2007 and includes access to the Advanced Verification Methodology portal. Configurations start at $24,000 USD for a 12-month license. AVM 3.0 will be available in Q2 2007 at no charge under a standard, open-source license. For additional product details, call 1-800-547-3000.
About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world’s most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of about $800 million and employs approximately 4,250 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777.
Mentor Graphics is a registered trademark and Questa is a trademark of Mentor Graphics Corporation.