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Why Hardware Emulation's OS is Like a Computer System

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KarlS01
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Verification should start at the beginning, not HDL
KarlS01   9/26/2017 3:56:23 PM
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Starting with this paragraph: "Typically, integrated circuits are designed via computer programs that execute a description of the circuit written in one of a few computer languages, generically called hardware description languages (HDLs). The most commonly used HDLs are Verilog, SystemVerilog, and VHDL. The circuit description defines the behavior of the circuit. These descriptions are synthesized into a real integrated circuit and compiled into a model that runs on an emulator."

The process of defining functional requirements and interface sequences is ignored. The implication is that every combination of inputs must be handled at any instant of time, which leads some to the absurd notion that everything happens at once, in parallel.

Functional behavior as well as circuit behavior and outputs are defined for sequences of valid(meaningful) input combinations and sequences.  All the rest are irrelevent or errors.

Hardware Description does not come out of thin air, rather it is the reult of defining sets of conditions(events) which are meaningful for internal states(combinations of internal logic elements.

A chip has inputs and outputs which a Boolean true or false if single or a value if grouped. A chip also has storage elements and arrays of elements that hold Boolean or numeric values. And a chip also has logic gates or arrays that evaluate Boolean expressions.

Logic design is the process of defining the response to inputs and the corresponding internal states or outputs.  This is totally missing at the HDL level and complicates verification because the valid inputs and outputs have to be extracted from all possible combinations.

Design should start by defining blocks, its inputs and outputs, and the function to be performed.  Then evolve to include the input and output sequences. Next define classes for the chip flip-flops, registers, memories, and gate nets. Now the source text can be parsed to identify the valid sequences and values.  And the classes can be compiled into a functional model for early verification.

Rizzatti
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Re: Confusing and Unclear
Rizzatti   9/25/2017 7:19:53 PM
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Yep, hardware emulation is a 30-year old technology that's undergone a resurgence due to a variety of reasons. Today, most electronic design verification strategies include hardware emulation as a "keystone." In fact, world-wide revenues for hardware emulation are approaching half billion dollars.

realjjj
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....
realjjj   9/20/2017 5:13:17 PM
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It's interesting as, in a world where all our computers are AR/MR/VR glasses, everything will be a simulation. Let's call it a Reality Emulation OS.

spike_johan
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Confusing and Unclear
spike_johan   9/20/2017 4:01:16 PM
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If I remember correctly, 'anything that can be done in software can be done in hardware, but faster.'

Software emulation makes perfect sense to me because writing code, and translating from one instruction set to another is relatively inexpensive compared to burning something into silicon.

So, maybe I misread the article. I suppose it could make sense to peform certain tasks by cobbling together EPROMS or whatnot.

But I still fail to see what the problem is, not to mention what the commerical angle is here.

PS - I just re-read this article for the third time and it appears the term hardware emulation is being used to mean just emulation in gereral.

Confusing...

And emulation (like modeling) is nothing new so I still fail to see what the point of this post was all about.

Nanette Collins
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Charley Selvidge and VMW
Nanette Collins   9/18/2017 4:13:11 PM
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One of Lauro's longtime readers pointed out that Virtual Machine Works was founded in 1993, not the late '90s as the blog post notes, and acquired by IKOS Systems in 1996, not 1998. He should know, he worked with Charley Selvidge years ago, followed his career and noted "Charley remains the quickest engineer I have ever worked with." Lauro agrees and thanked him for setting the record straight!


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