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Emulators are great. They vastly speed up verification to the point where it’s hard to imagine life without them; as designs grow in complexity, simple simulation can’t keep up for the biggest designs. The extra oomph from emulation is almost a necessity for the top percentages of design sizes. However, many users of Palladium aren’t efficiently using their unit’s processing power, and as a result they’re missing out on the full speed-up potential that Palladium can provide.
Altair’s HERO is here for you. With its help, your Palladium unit can be even more amazing for your productivity than before.
HERO (that’s Hardware Emulator Resource Optimizer) adds emulator support to Altair’s Accelerator. You already know and love Altair’s scheduling tools; so why not make them do more for you, so you can be one of those people who are making the most out of their Palladium system?
Emulators are kind of like big computers, but it’s a lot harder to manage leftover resources on an emulator than it is on, say, a CPU. A scheduler like HERO neatly sidesteps this problem by more intelligently using the resources available to ensure that there’s a minimal patchwork of leftover resources to begin with.
HERO supports past generations of Palladium as well, so if you’re still using an older version, you can still take advantage of the upgrades HERO provides. There’s a wide variety of features HERO has that make your emulator easier to use. HERO separates a job into a “select” section and a “run” section: the “select” part makes a last-minute decision on which domains or boards to use, while the “run” part is the actual job. This makes it easier to ensure that your Palladium emulator is being used as efficiently as possible. Jobs are placed using “shapes”, which are a set of job types; these can be selected from a list of pre-defined ones by the user. Shapes can have special constraints if those are needed.
A new reservation system also helps HERO organize Palladium’s processing power better. HERO offers both “hard” reservations and “soft” reservations. A hard reservation locks other users out of reserving any part of the emulator at all, while a soft reservation allows a user to reserve a part of the emulator for a later use. Think of it like this: a soft reservation is like grabbing a ticket from the deli counter, while a hard reservation stops you from ever entering the market.
When using HERO, you can manage your entire verification workload. You’ll find that your utilization of your emulator vastly increases—it’s been reported that some users using only 30% of the capabilities of their Palladium unit(s) saw a massive increase to over 90% once they made the switch to HERO.
If you’re ready to take your Palladium productivity to the next level, Altair has a HERO for you.
To see the full presentation given by Andrea Casotto in the Cadence Theater at DAC 2019, check here.