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Tag Archives: 47th DAC

When I started Nusym eight years ago, it was my feeling that formal verification would succeed only when it didn’t look like formal verification.  Nusym was founded with the vision of using formal techniques under the covers of a standard simulation environment to extract value from the wealth of information provided by the simulation environment.

Talking about this strategy in a response to Olivier Coudert’s blog post on formal verification, I wrote:

I think this use model will continue to grow, while formal verification, the product, will continue to whither. I predict that in 10-15 years there will be no formal verification products, but most, if not all, verification solutions at that time will incorporate formal technologies under the covers.

At this year’s DAC, however,  it was apparent that this trend is happening now, rather than 10-15 years from now. There were a number of new verification startups and products announced this year, including:

  • Avery Insight – X propagation and DFT
  • Jasper ActiveDesign – design exploration and debug
  • NextOp – assertion synthesis
  • Vennsa – automated debugging

Notice that none of these products claims to be a formal verification product. But look  who created these products: formal verification Ph.D.s. Do you doubt that these products rely heavily on formal verification techniques under the covers?

The only exception to this, ironically, appears to be my new employer, Jasper, whose JasperGold formal verification product has been seen huge growth over the last year.  They have found that  the recipe to success for formal verification is to buffer the complexity of it by using methodology and services. Also, Jasper’s latest product, ActiveDesign,  a tool that derives simulation traces for a specified design target, is not specifically intended to be a verification tool, except of course, it uses the same formal verification technology under the covers as JasperGold.

Now, there are still traditional formal verification products out there. Cadence IFV, Mentor 0-in, and Synopsys Magellan are still around. I may have missed it, but I didn’t see these tools making any a big impact at DAC this year. However, I suppose we must recognize that they still exist and that it may just take 10-15 years for them to die off.