VERIFICATION: Language aids analog testbench development -

VERIFICATION: Language aids analog testbench development

Santa Cruz, Calif. — While many products help automate digital IC verification, the Knowlent Corp. Opal platform is one of the few that focuses on analog verification. Knowlent this week will add a proprietary language, dubbed Viper, that helps users develop testbenches that are independent from their designs.

Opal 4.0 also promises a twofold speedup in its binary test database, as well as integration with Cadence Design Systems Inc.'s Analog Artist design suite and Composer schematics. Knowlent will also announce the release of an electrical verification intellectual-property (EVP) component for the 5-Gbit/second PCI Express Gen 2 interface standard.

The company was launched in March 2005 to develop products for the electrical verification of high-speed interfaces. Opal started shipping that year. The platform includes software for analog testbench automation, along with EVPs for various protocols, such as PCI Express and Serial ATA. As such, Opal aims to help automate the compliance tests that are needed to verify the electrical and physical layers of standard interfaces.

“On the analog side, the testbench has always been a part of the design itself,” said Knowlent CEO Sandipan Bhanot. “We are trying to formalize verification as a separate process in analog design, so that any testbench you write is independent of the design, simulator and design environment.”

The Viper language provides that independence, Bhanot said. “People can set up designs, launch simulations and extract measurements independently of the design,” he said. “Before, people had a hodgepodge of methodologies, but nothing that could go front-to-back in a totally design-independent fashion.”

Viper lets users customize or extend the set of standard tests provided in Knowlent's EVPs. It supports customer test extensions using Tcl, Perl or C. It doesn't require a separate compiler, Bhanot noted, but instead uses internal function libraries that are exported into languages such as Tcl or Perl.

Boost for analysis
Opal's binary database provides an efficient way to manipulate and analyze data, Bhanot said. Knowlent claims users of Opal 4.0 will see at least a twofold performance improvement in the analysis of clock recovery eye diagrams and both random and deterministic jitter.

Finally, Opal 4.0 provides integration with Cadence's schematic and layout tools. “Pretty much every design house is working with Cadence, and designs from Cadence can flow seamlessly into our verification environment,” Bhanot said.

Opal 4.0 is available now starting at $40,000.

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