"Is it covered?' It's the question that leaves many an engineer perplexed, as the question echoes through his head in the voice of Marathon Man's infamous villain. So, whether you can make it to this year's Design Automation Conference or not, chances are you'll want to know more about the Accellera Systems Initiative's new Unified Coverage Interoperability Standard (UCIS).
Accellera's launching UCIS 1.0 at a Wednesday lunch (June 5, 12.00-13.30, register here), and while it doesn't answer the question fully, it's a good start.
In simple terms, UCIS provides a common API and XML-based interchange format for coverage data. More to the point, it already has the backing of Cadence Design Systems, Jasper Design Automation, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys, all critical players in the verification space.
The idea is for UCIS to go forth now and let a thousand better metrics bloom. By being able to collate, swap and analyze coverage outputs and once proprietary and discrete metrics from multiple vendors tools, the hope is that verification engineers will be able to be more confident that they have reached closure. And that could be by the vendors using UCIS as the basis for better automated indicators or by users constructing their own.
Certainly, the need to apply simulation, static checks, formal verification and emulation to dig into today's massive designs does entail a struggle to match the coverage data produced by the different tools and technologies employed. It simply adds to what is already a seemingly endless task. A consistent data format should inevitably mean better metrics.
Accellera also aims to foster UCIS by providing forums and other means by which users and vendors can share their experiences with the format as it is truly used in anger. We'll also be launching a guide on UCIS shortly after DAC, and keeping track of how vendors integrate it into their tools over the course of 2012.
No, this is not a unified coverage standard in itself, but without UCIS, it is hard to see where one could come from.