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Wow - what a paper! At CDNLive! Silicon Valley 2010, the joint paper from Broadcom and Cadence, titled Transaction-Based Acceleration: Strong Ammunition in any Verification Arsenal, showed evidence that simulators are running out of steam for system level simulations. At Broadcom, simulators certainly maintain their value from sub-block to chip-level simulations, providing their users with tremendous debug and ease-of-use efficiencies. However, the lowered performance profile for simulations at the system-level are impeding Broadcom's ability to meet their tight schedules while verifying and producing high-quality products. After evaluating several verification solutions available in the marketplace, Broadcom has now added transaction-based acceleration to their verification arsenal.
On some of their initial results using transaction-based acceleration, Broadcom achieved 230X acceleration over a chip-level simulation. Even at block level, they ran a 1.2 million packet tests at a rate of 304 packets per second, achieving 292X over simulation. Not too shabby! In addition, they've improved their return-on-investment of their hardware assisted verification solution with Palladium by extending its value from in-circuit emulation to include transaction-based acceleration technology.
I believe Broadcom is not alone in this respect. Many verification managers at other companies have told me that they are developing their verification test plans hampered by the performance of their simulators at the system level. So, if they too can run system level simulation much faster than their current simulator allows them to, yet maintaining the usability and methodology defined by simulator vendors, their tight verification schedules can be met with high coverage, allowing application software validation to take place at earlier stages.
By the way, a related yet still a side note regarding Broadcom -- the following was mentioned during Cadence's 2010 Q3 earning's call. Broadcom selected the Palladium XP for in-circuit emulation, transaction-based acceleration and software development. Palladium XP provides Broadcom with a state-of-the-art platform to validate their next generation SOCs. Broadcom now has one of the largest Palladium installations. So, do check out the video recording and see why Broadcom thinks transaction-based acceleration is an essential strength of their verification arsenal.