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Questa drives data analytics and AI into verification

Questa drives data analytics and AI into verification

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By Nick Flaherty



Siemens Digital Industries Software has developed a browser-based set of tools for verification and collaboration to speed up chip design times.

The Questa Verification IQ software is based on the RESTful web-based API to pull together a wide range of verification engines to allow multiple teams, including functional safety, to work on the same project.

The use of the RESTful API also opens up access to requirements management tools such as Doors and Siemens Polarion as well as product lifecycle management (PLM) tools and both in-house and third party machine learning tools.

The move to data analytics is a key trend, says Darron May, product manager for verification management, debug and coverage at Siemens.

“This our next generation data driven verification tool powered by analytics,” he said. “Data is key to any improvement and over the last ten years there has been more data generated than the last 20 years, and in the next 3 years will be more than the last 30 years.

Verification can take up as much as 70% of chip design times, says a 2022 study by Wilson Research. The number of verification teams achieving first silicon success has declined from 31 percent in 2014 to just 24 percent in 2022, which represents the lowest level recorded in the past 20 years.

“76% of projects need two or more respins and only a third of projects finish on schedule,” said May. “FPGA projects are no better, only 16% have no non-trivial bugs and only 30% finish on time.”

The new framework allows any device with a browser to access the tools using the standard REST web API and Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) API which also uses REST interface.

This also includes traceability for functional safety compliance.  “Traceability is essential for safety compliance to connect verification and requirements tools,” he said.

The framework runs on a single server with one database instance to allow engineers to collaborate, with the verification and AI engines running on other servers, either in-house or in the cloud, for scalability.

The tools in the Questa framework include a Testplan Author to couple to the Polarion PLM tool using web interfaces, with dynamic trace each tool’s data without the need for synchronisation. This can also link to Doors or the Siemens TeamCentre requirements tools.

The Regression Navigator uses reinforcement learning to provide consistency and coherence with existing verification flows.

The Coverage Analyzer uses unsupervised learning to help teams find coverage holes quicker, adjust stimulus, and use heat maps, distribution graphs and network graphs.

 The Verification Insight tool can extract any verification metric from the other tools to create a customisable dashboard.

“We can add future applications by other groups in Siemens EDA, for example providing access to silicon lifecycle data and Siemens has access to ML experts in other industries,” said May.  

The framework and the REST API will allow third party verification engines.

“Naturally we do our own engines first but we understand that customers use different continuous integration, lifecycle tools, source code systems and as we do more deployments we are working with customers on using their data to train models, using unsupervised learning,” he said.

“We have been working with early adopters for 18 months so we have metrics on real projects.” This includes ARM and Nordic Semiconductor.

“The rapid pace of innovation today means that time-to-market is more critical than ever for us to meet the growing demand for computing power,” said Tran Nguyen, senior director of Design Services for ARM.

“The Questa Verification IQ solution from Siemens allows for greater collaboration across teams and geographies during the verification process, and enables analytical navigation to improve productivity, significantly reducing our closure times.”

“Nordic Semiconductor specializes in wireless communication technology that powers the IoT. Knowing the verification status of the design throughout the development cycle is critical to planning, execution, and the final quality of our products,” said Christoffer Amlo, verification team lead for Nordic Semiconductor.

“As an early adopter, Questa Verification IQ provides us with a central portal with high level trending. The live status automated by the tool replaces the manual effort of gathering our regression information. And for investigating uncomplete verification work, Questa Verification IQ provides an efficient collaborative workflow for coverage closure.”

eda.sw.siemens.com/en-US/ic/questa/simulation/verification-iq/

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