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During the last 2 years I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Incisive Software Extensions (ISX) with many customers. I learned a lot about software/hardware co-verification and we reached the point were we started to see beyond one’s own nose.
One of the substantial concepts of ISX is the generic software adapter. The accentuation here is the attribute 'generic'. The generic approach guaranties the freedom to connect almost everything that somehow drives embedded software. From this point of view it's very easy to build up a library of supported devices and reuse proven and customized adapters out of the box for convenience.
Is the generic concept a really proven one, mature enough to document a step by step approach? What are potential areas of using the ISX technology with the metric driven verification methodology apart from the simulation based mainstream?
The ISX installation explains, with the help of examples, the connection to the OpenRisc processor ork1 (http://www.opencores.org/openrisc) driven in a simulation environment, and the integration of Palladium and Xtreme boxes. There is an open question remaining: what is the effort and benefit to connect it to an arbitrary FPGA prototype board? This question comes up during our engagements with customers, and we looked for a chance to find a practical answer to it instead of the theoretical explanations we used so far.
In 2008 we embarked upon an ISX activity together with ElCamino (http://www.elcamino.de), a consulting company and partner of Cadence for many years. During our discussions we selected a ElCaminos FPGA training board and integrated it into a metric driven verification environment using ISX. The hardware was a low-cost, low-power Cyclone III FPGA from Altera combined with a LCD color touch panel for visualization driven by Specman testbench. The result was a small eyecatcher we introduced first time on CDNlive! in Munich this year.
Figure 1 - Altera FPGA Board
The demo vehicle proves that the generic adapter concept provides significant flexibility, and is a solid base to extend ISX into embedded software verification strategy.The integration effort for the selected board was not higher than the standard ISX simulation based project and no additional functionality needed to be added to the ISX tool itself to make this happen. The benefit of such an integration is the post silicon verification with existing fundamental verification methodology and the expected high reuse factor of any existing metric driven verification environment (MDV).
And finally the generic FPGA board support of ISX enables the introduction of MDV to the software verification world, which is revolutionary thinking from the software testing perspective.
More background information about this engagement will be provided in an upcoming blog interview with the ElCamino engineers, Ernst Zwingenberge and Malte Henzelmann, who supervised both the project at ElCamino.
This TeamESL posting was provided by Joerg Simon who is a CoreComp Verification Engineer at Cadence Design Systems where he is responsible for ESL product deployment, including hardware/software co-verifciation products and TLM methodology.