Archive for February, 2009

Mentor Graphics Displaced Worker Program

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I’m still up at the Design Verification Conference (DVCon) and have not had a chance to summarize last evening’s Software-As-A-Service and Cloud Computing EDA Roundtable. I will do that over the weekend and have a complete rundown next week, including slides.

In the meantime, I wanted to pass on some information that was announced a week or so ago and which I became aware of just this week. Mentor Graphics has initiated a Displaced Worker Program to provide free training to customers who have lost thier jobs in the last 6 months. Back last Decemeber I had issued a challenge to the EDA vendors to do just this. I don’t know if this challenge had any affect; hopefully they did this because they thought it was the right thing to do.

So far Mentor is the only company that has done this, to my knowledge. I’ve personally had discussions with one other of the “Big 3″, so hopefully they will follow suit. Maybe Mentor’s offer will help prompt them.

What do you think? Should they do this?

harry the ASIC guy

Update on SaaS/Cloud Roundtable & DVCon Day 1

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

I’d like to update you on some new panel members for the SaaS and Cloud Computing EDA Roundtable and also give you some highlights from DVCon Day 1.

As previously reported, the roundtable will be held on Wednesday Feb 25th at 6:30pm in the Monterey/Carmel Rooms. We’ve picked up 2 additional panelists, Jean Brouwers and Bill Guthrie. Jean is an EDA industry veteran heavily into cloud computing and SaaS. Bill is Executive Vice President and Co-founder of Numetrics, a company that delivers its products using the SaaS model. This brings the total number of panelists to 7, so we should have many perspectives represented.

Here’s an update on DVCon Day 1:

Attendance at DVCon is down significantly this year. I don’t have exact numbers, but I’ve heard estimates on the order of half of last year. (Correction: By Day 3, there were 650 attendees which is ~80% of last year). Obviously the economy is a big factor. The exhibits session was probably 75% vendors and 25% attendees.

Lunch for approximately 150 attendees was sponsored by Accellera and included an overview of ongoing committee activities.and some informal polls on usage of Accleera standards. According to David Lin’s estimates OVL: 25%, UCIS: 40%, UPF: 10%, AMS: 2%, ITC: 5%, OCI: 2%, VHDL: 15%, SV: 80%, PSL: 10%. At one point the audience was asked how many had participated in the recent OVL survey and 1 person raised his hand.

I did not attend either the morning or afternoon tutorials due to work commitments in the morning and time spent at the exhibits in the afternoon. Some of the companies I spent time with include Gate Rocket, Achilles Test, and Synopsys. I’ll have some write ups on some of these visits shortly.

Finally, you can follow some of the live action on Twitter.

harry the ASIC guy

Setting The Record Straight

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Since conducting the Verification Methodology Poll and publishing the raw results last week, I’ve been planning to follow up with a post that digs a little deeper into the numbers. Things have gotten rather busy in the meantime, both at work and with organizing the SaaS and Cloud Computing EDA Roundtable for next week at DVCon. So I’ve let it slip a little.

Well, I noticed today that the verification methodology poll was referenced in a Cadence blog post by Adam Sherer. The results were somewhat mis-interpreted (in my opinion), so that kicked my butt to post my own interpretations to set the record straight. Says Adam:

According to the poll conducted by Harry Gries in his Harry the ASIC Guy blog, you should go “all in” on the OVM because it is the 2:1 favorite.

In fact, the raw results had VMM with 80 users and OVM with 125 users, a ratio of just over 1.5:1 (1.5625 to be exact). So the 2:1 ratio is not accurate. However, if you add in RVM/Vera users to the VMM numbers, and then add in AVM, eRM, and e users to the OVM numbers, that ratio is more like 1.8:1. Closer, but still not 2:1.

It also indicates that my poll says that “you should go ‘all in’ on the OVM”. I never said that nor does the poll say anything about what you “should do”. The data simply captures what people are planning on using next. If you are inclined to follow the majority, then perhaps OVM is the way to go. By contrast, there is nothing in the poll comparing the technical merits of the various methodologies. So, if you are inclined to make up your own mind, then you have some work to do and my poll won’t help you on that. You’re probably better off visiting JL Gray at Cool Verification.

No poll is perfect and it will be interesting to compare to DVCon and John Cooley polls to see if they are consistent. Here are a few other interesting stats that I pulled out of the poll results:

  • 91% of respondents are using some sort of SystemVerilog methodology
  • 10% are using both OVM and VMM (although I suspect many of these are consultants)
  • 27% are still using e or Vera (more e than Vera)
  • 4% are using ONLY VHDL or Verilog (this number may be low due to the skew of respondents towards advanced methodologies)

Again, I welcome you to download the raw data, which you can find in PDF format and as an Excel workbook, and draw your own conclusions.

harry the ASIC guy

SaaS & Cloud Computing EDA Roundtable @ DVCon

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I’ve been writing about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing as relates to EDA for some time now. Then back in January I made a New Years resolution to organize a SaaS EDA roundtable at the 2009 Design and Verification Conference (DVCon).  About a month ago I asked for volunteers and several of you have stepped up to help. Now, just a week before DVCon, I’d like to formally announce the event.

The SaaS and Cloud Computing Roundtable will be held from 6:30 - 8:00 pm on Wed Feb 25th in the Monterey/Carmel rooms at the San Jose Doubletree Hotel. This is immediately following the DVCon reception down the hall, so grab a drink and a bite and then wander on over.

SaaS and Cloud Computing are 2 of the hottest trends in the Information Technology and software industries. Some EDA companies have already put their toes in the water. This roundtable will explore the following question: Are they trailblazing the future of the industry or are they chasing an empty fad?

The format will consist of 5 brief (< 10 minute) presentations from people involved in various perspectives in SaaS and cloud computing for EDA:

This will be followed by an open, and hopefully lively, discussion.

I’m greatly looking forward to this event, especially since I get to collaborate with such a high-powered team and I have no idea what to expect. I truly believe that this could be one of the more interesting events at DVCon this year.

I hope to see many of you there.

harry the ASIC guy


Verification Methodology Poll Results

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Last week I initiated a poll of verification methodologies being used for functional verification of ASICs. Unlike other polls or surveys, this one was done in a very “open” fashion using a website that allows everyone to view the raw data. In this way, anyone can analyze the data and draw the conclusions that make sense to them, and those conclusions can be challenged and debated based on the data.

What happened next was interesting. Within 48 hours, the poll had received almost 200 responses from all over the world. It had garnered the attention of the big EDA vendors who solicited their supporters to vote. And, as a result, had became a focal point for shenanigans from over-zealous VMM and OVM fans.  I had several long nights digging through the data and now I am ready to present the results.

As promised, here is the raw data in PDF format and as an Excel workbook. The only change I have made is to remove the names of the individual 249 respondents.

In summary, the results are as follows:

RAW Results from Verification Methodology Poll

(Note: The total is more than the 249 respondents because one respondent could be using more than one methodology.)

Regarding the big 3 vendors, the data shows a remarkable consistency with Gary Smith’s market share data. There are 85 respondents planning to use the Synopsys methodologies (VMM,RVM, or Vera) and there are 150 respondents planning to use the Mentor or Cadence methodologies (OVM, AVM, eRM, e). That represents 36% for Synopsys and 64% for Mentor/Cadence. Gary’s data shows Synopsys with 34% market share, Mentor with 35%, and Cadence with 30%.

Methodology Split

Gary Smith Market Share Data

I’ll share some more insights in upcoming posts. In the meantime, please feel free to offer any insights that you have through your comments. Remember, you too have access to the raw data. This invitation includes the EDA vendors. And feel free to challenge my conclusions … but back it up with data!

harry the ASIC guy

Quick Update On Verification Methodology Poll

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Quick update for everyone…

Regarding the Verification Methodology Poll I started the other day, I was able to go through the log files and identify the obvious malicious activity.  There was a string of deletes and changes of VMM votes to OVM/e votes. Then a string of deletes of OVM votes. I’m going to add back the original entries to make the data whole again.

In the meantime, the obvious malicious activity has subsided, and now there is only a trickle of clearly valid votes coming in. It’s just like listening for the popcorn to stop popping, when I see that the votes slow down to a certain rate, I’ll do my tallies and publish the results.

There have been questions raised regarding my motivations for doing this poll.  Some felt that I had some hidden agenda and some even thought that I was some sort of paid shill for one of the vendors. If you are a regular reader of my blog or if you know me, then you know that’s not true.  If you don’t know me, then ask around.

At the risk of sounding defensive, my goal was purely to conduct an “open” survey of the verification methodologies being used because this has been such a hot topic this past year, because DVCon is coming up and this would be good information, and because one of my readers suggested it and I thought it was a good idea.The idea of using Doodle was in order that everyone can view the raw data, something you rarely or never get to see when vendors and other organizations conduct polls and then release only the results that suit them best. In this way, anyone could analyze the raw data and draw the conclusions that made sense, and those conclusions could be challenged based on the raw data. The mistake I made was not realizing how easily those who, unlike me, actually had an agenda could vandalize the data.

There have also been questions raised regarding the validity of this poll and how “scientific” it is after all that has occurred. I think they are valid concerns and certainly, if I had to do this over again, I’d fix some things to prevent multiple voting and malicious behavior. Still, as I look at the interim results, they are similar to what I had expected. Each vendor lobbied their constituencies, so the playing field is level. It will be interesting to compare this result to DVCon surveys from the vendors, from DVCon itself, and from John Cooley to see if there is consistency.

Finally, to those of you who legitimately voted, I thank you for participating openly and I apologize that the results will always be subject to some doubt. I hope you don’t feel you wasted your time.

harry the ASIC guy

Enough Already !!!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

OK.  This will be short and sweet!

The poll I set up the other day was getting interesting and meaningful responses related to the verification methodologies being used. FORTUNATELY, I saved a snapshot of this data as it was coming in.

UNFORTUNATELY, I apparently did not do enough due diligence with respect to the Doodle site and neglected to realize that there is a way to vandalize the data.  Apparently, that is what started happening later in the day, to the point where this has now become a poll-war between the forces of OVM and the forces of VMM.  I won’t go so far as to name names, but you know who you are.

I feel bad for those who provided honest data.  Thank you for doing so and having faith in this poll. I have a snapshot that I feel is reasonably uncorrupted and I will still publish those results once I remove data that I feel was not entered in good faith.

I may have a way to find out if any of the EDA vendors were involved in this vandalism, so I encourage you to chill out and not make it any worse.

And if you were involved … GROW UP!!!

harry the ASIC guy

Verification Methodology Poll

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

In response to a recent post regarding the verification survey on the DVCon website, Jeremy Ralph of PDTi expressed that he’d “be interested to know what proportion of the SV is OVM vs. VMM”, a question that was missing from the survey. Considering the whole kerfuffle concerning OVM and VMM over the last year, I thought this would be a good question for you, the ones really using the tools. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try out this new Doodle survey tool I was told about.

So … I created the first ASIC guy survey on Doodle. That was very easy as was casting my own vote. Now it’s your turn.


Feel free to leave a pseudonym if you wish to be anonymous. Make it funny, but keep it clean. And please don’t impersonate someone else.  I’ll know something is up if Aart votes for OVM :-)

Also, please let other people know about this poll and ask them to vote.  The more votes we have, the more accurate the survey results. And it would be really cool if we can get more respondents online than DVCon had in person.

If this works well, I’ll continue to do this every so often. Feel free to provide suggestions for future polls.

harry the ASIC guy