The fourth and final part of an experts' discussion panel on verification tries to look forward and reveals that, as ever, it's all about the coverage.
EE Times: Would it be easier to come together now to establish what system-level coverage metrics are before we've created these walls?
Martin: We've talked about the platforms you're going to use for system level validation -- it's going to be emulation, FPGA prototyping, and so on. How do you get coverage metrics out of something like that?
Levia: In my experience in standards, they converge quickly when a user knows what they want. When EDA vendors are left to decide what the standard ought to be, it takes time, because there are ulterior motives.
Martin: I agree. EDA vendors traditionally use standards to protect their space and added value. And then you have different camps.
Gary Smith: ARM is the prototype of the new semiconductor company. They are the semiconductor company that doesn't have to worry about producing the silicon. You walk around ARM, and it looks like an EDA company or an IP company, but it's not. When you get that critical mass, there are going to be more of these companies. Qualcomm and Broadcomm are starting to act more in this role. New semiconductor companies are going to make less and less of their money producing silicon chips. They are producing the designs. We sort of ripped the manufacturing out of the semiconductor business -- the foundries will make the product. New semiconductor companies will empower the things that come together.
Martin: The irony is the value is actually in the software. In some ways, the hardware eats into your margin. The more you spend on hardware, the more you eat into your margin. That's why there is this continual drive to spend more on software and integration and to drive the baseline capabilities to the supply chain. That's the only way that they can maintain their margins.