A friend recently had a complete set of dinnerware shipped from one coast to the other. Her story reinforces the old adage that you need to have the right skill for the job and the right tools.
Her shipment of chartreuse-colored –– that funky color halfway between yellow and green –– dishes, designed by Russel Wright in the 1950s is highly collectable and some that have never been used, were given to her when her aunt died. More important, they’re as usable and functional as they’ve ever been.
She picks up the story here: "I walked over to the UPS Store around the corner from my home to pick up packing material -- boxes, tape, bubble wrap –– intending to pack the dishes myself for UPS to ship. As I was getting ready to leave with my purchases, I off-handedly asked the clerk if they did the packing as well as shipping. They did. I went home, pulled everything together and dropped off the load of dishes and an itemized list. I also did a web search to calculate what each piece was worth for insurance purposes."
"Asking UPS was a smart move and letting the experts do the packing was even smarter. The boxes arrived when they were scheduled to be delivered. The dishes were carefully wrapped and everything arrived unbroken. The store manager, obviously skilled at packing fragile items, handled the shipment himself. I now refer to him as Mr. Fussy.
"The hard part came during the unpacking. Each box was filled with pink popcorn that went everywhere. The dishes were wrapped in bubble wrap and extra wrapping material with a layer of some sort of thin Styrofoam in between each dish.
"I selected a box cutter to open the dish wrapping, a big mistake. In my first attempt, I sliced through the packing material and sliced my finger. Ouch! I should have used a scissors."
The right skill for the job and the right tool to do it applies in personal and professional situations. As my friend learned, skill and experience matters. It can save a business countless hours, endless frustration and money. Just as my friend was better off letting Mr. Fussy tackle the shipment, verification teams can leverage the expertise of emulation suppliers rather than trying to build their own custom solutions. The team's focus should be on designing a chip, not designing a hardware-assisted verification platform.
As for the tools, why use a box cutter when scissors would work just as well, and with less pain? From what I've seen, the same goes for EDA tools. An engineering or verification team cannot suffer the pain of lengthy event-based simulations on a complex chip design. Nor can it afford the lost cycles due to missing a critical bug before tapeout. Instead, these teams now turn to emulation because an emulator these days is much faster and more efficient, reducing the risk of verification pain.
Now, Russel Wright American Modern dinnerware from the 1950s may be usable and functional, but you can't say the same for traditional hardware emulators. When it comes to hardware-assisted verification, the technology needs to keep up with the growing complexity of modern SoC designs. Gate capacities must go up, while the costs need to go down over time, in contrast to collectable dinnerware. Hardware-assisted verification platforms that can stand the test of time must be affordable, flexible, scalable, and upgradable. The modern hardware-assisted verification platform must combine traditional emulation with rapid prototyping systems into one environment for ASIC and SoC debugging and, embedded software validation, and hardware/software co-verification.
Yes, there's a lesson to be learned from Russel Wright American Modern dinnerware for the electronics and EDA industry. He created a succession of artistically distinctive and commercially successful items that helped bring modern design to the general public. The same can be said for hardware-assisted verification platforms: they are enabling a succession of distinctive and commercially successful electronics products to market and EVE is leading the way.