EDA platform speeds fault simulation for safety-relevant chips

October 30, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
EDA platform speeds fault simulation for safety-relevant chips
EDA software provider Optima Design Automation (Nazareth, Israel) promises its users an acceleration of error analysis for safety-critical semiconductors by orders of magnitude. The software is aimed primarily at semiconductors that must meet the safety requirements of ISO 26262, i.e. semiconductors for automotive use.

The Optima Safety Platform (OSP), presented at the recent Design and Verification Conference (DVCon) in Munich, is based on Optima's Fault Injection Engine, the core IP of the Israeli satrtup. According to the vendor, OSP is a next-generation fault analysis solution. It currently includes two automated tools: Optima-HE for hard error analysis and Optima-SE for soft error analysis. The company promises its users an order of magnitude increase in error analysis performance over today's fastest solutions on the market. According to Optima founder and CEO Jamil Mazzawi, this slashes analysis time from months to days or even hours. This corresponds to an increase in performance by a factor of 1000, says Mazzawi. At the same time, higher coverage and design security can be achieved.

So far, the error analysis of large safety-critical devices in the automotive sector, as required by the ISO 26262 standard, can take months of computing time. If this time is reduced to a few days or hours, new forms of analysis can be used that drastically improve the safety and quality of the devices and at the same time allow the interference resistance to be evaluated. Optima's automated CoverageMaximizer, currently under development, is expected to further improve the analysis process by increasing verification coverage and eliminating unconsidered design areas on the silicon.

Until now, only the traditional semiconductor industry fault simulation was available for the analysis of safety faults. This is a 30-year-old technique that was specially developed for testing in chip manufacturing. Optima has developed a new proprietary set of fault analysis algorithms specifically designed for injecting faults for safety analysis.

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