Atrenta buys NextOp for assertion synthesis

By Chris Edwards |  2 Comments  |  Posted: June 20, 2012
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Atrenta has taken a step into functional verification with the decision to buy NextOp Software, a specialist in assertion synthesis.

NextOp’s BugScope tool uses information from the combination of design and testbench RTL to create a set of assertions that can be used to catch corner-case bugs as well as properties for calculating functional coverage – primarily to expose holes in the testbench. According to NextOp, companies such as Altera, Entropic and nVidia have used it in an production environment.

Historically, the tools in Atrenta’s SpyGlass suite have focused on aspects of the RTL that are not directly related to its functional behavior. For example, the Atrenta tools perform checks on clock synchronization, the power grid, test coverage as well as code linting. The purchase of NextOp takes it into functional verification.

Atrenta will continue to sell BugScope as a discrete product although there may be scope for future integration between the tools. For example, looking at the portfolio it’s not hard to envisage links between the power-intent checks of SpyGlass Power and BugScope. The combination could provide a more automated way of determining how well a testbench checks power modes and provide a more complete set of assertions driven not just by the design and testbench but the CPF or UPF directives.

At this stage, Atrenta is not saying whether this acquisition is part of a larger program of acquisitions to expand its coverage. Mike Giangfagna, vice president of marketing, said of Atrenta and NextOp: “Both
companies do similar things – making the design more implementation-ready or building a more complete verification strategy.”

Gary Smith, founder and chief analyst for Gary Smith EDA, said: “With the acquisition of Magma there has been renewed talk about a roll-up in the middle of the EDA community. The most obvious candidates are the RTL sign-off tool vendors, and the most talked about driver, of the roll-up, has been Atrenta. This could be the start of something big, and NextOp was an excellent place to start.”

At Atrenta, NextOp co-founder Yunshan Zhu will become a vice president, reporting to president Ajoy Bose. Yuan Lu, co-founder and CTO will take on the role of chief verification architect, reporting to Zhu.

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