Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Joy of doing ASIC verification!!!

Verification is often treated as the step-child of design. Decade back verification was considered less critical task than design by some companies and fresher’s where often pushed in to verification It’s not surprising, then, that most of the verification engineers want to be designers. But now verification is more lucrative career option than design and many experience people now hold on to verification without moving to design. It is generally estimated that 70% of ASIC design cycle is spend on functional verification. The ratio of verification engineers to design engineers is approximately 3:1. Job switching for verification engineers is easy when compared to the designers provided they have the right skill set. The advancements happen in verification at a very fast rate that design.

Earlier verification job was looked down, as the design is what is getting taped out and moves in to mass production stage not the test bench. But verification requires lot more effort and skills, example, to test a 100 line state machine we need to develop testbench which will have atleast 500 lines of code and draft a test plan which covers all the possible scenarios. VIP development companies get their revenues from their testbench which is licensed and shipped as a product.

Reasonably experienced person will know that building a re-useable system level verification environment and verifying the design without any post silicon bugs is more difficult than adding a glue logic in the design.

Do you still believe verification is a less critical task and requires lesser expertise that design?