Industry Protocols for VLSI Design Verification and Validation

  • April 23, 2024

    author: Ramya


The design of sophisticated electronic systems relies heavily on the discipline of Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI), which stands for very large integrated circuits. Verification and validation procedures must be of the highest quality if very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) are to continue to expand in complexity. In this article, we will investigate the industry protocols that are used for verifying and validating VLSI designs. We will analyze the significance of these protocols as well as the impact they have on assuring the dependability and functionality of integrated circuits.

UVM, which stands for "Universal Verification Methodology," is a methodology that has become the industry standard for verifying VLSI designs and has seen widespread adoption. It does this by providing a framework that is standardized and a library of classes that can be used to create testbenches that are scalable and reusable. UVM encourages the use of a transaction-based methodology, which makes it possible to create all-encompassing testing environments for the purpose of validating the functionality, performance, and regulatory compliance of VLSI designs. The protocol makes it easier for design components and verification components to communicate with one another, which speeds up the verification process and boosts overall productivity.


SystemVerilog is an extension of the Verilog hardware description language that contains capabilities primarily intended at verification and validation of very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) designs. SystemVerilog was developed by SystemVerilog Inc. The assertions, coverage-driven verification, and constrained-random stimulus generation features of SystemVerilog have been improved. SystemVerilog is able to verify complicated design behaviors in an effective manner thanks to its extensive feature set. It also assists in the early phases of the design process in locating and removing faults that are related to functional operations.


OVM, which stands for Open Verification technique, is a verification technique that is open-source and based on the IEEE 1800 SystemVerilog standard. It offers a standardized framework for the creation of reusable verification environments through the utilization of SystemVerilog and other advanced verification approaches. OVM is designed to encourage collaboration and increase efficiency among verification engineers by providing them with a library of pre-built components as well as a standardized approach for testbench construction. The protocol encourages the use of the most effective verification methods for very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) designs and helps speed up their acceptance.


VMM, which stands for "Verification Methodology Manual," is a methodology for the verification of VLSI designs that was developed by Synopsys. It offers a method that is both structured and standardized for constructing reusable testbenches through the use of SystemVerilog. VMM provides users with an extensive collection of classes, libraries, and standards that may be used to build scalable verification environments. The protocol makes it easier to construct verification intellectual property, functional coverage models, and transaction-level modeling, all of which contribute to an increase in the verification process's overall efficiency and effectiveness.


DPI stands for "Direct Programming Interface," and it is a standard interface that connects the programming language C with SystemVerilog. It allows for the easy integration of C/C++ code into SystemVerilog testbenches, which gives verification engineers the ability to leverage existing software routines or communicate with external devices while testing VLSI designs. By fusing the capability of hardware description languages with the adaptability of software programming, DPI makes it possible to do co-simulation and verification of complicated VLSI designs in an effective manner.


PSS, which stands for "Portable Stimulus Specification," is a standard that is currently being developed by the industry for defining portable stimulus models. It gives a portable, high-level description of the test aim and stimulus generation for VLSI architectures. PSS makes it possible to generate scenario-based test vectors, which can then be applied to a variety of verification platforms and settings. The protocol increases the effectiveness and portability of testbenches, which in turn reduces the amount of time and effort necessary for verification across a variety of target platforms and design configurations.


Coverage-Driven Verification, or CDV, is not a protocol in and of itself but rather a verification approach that focuses on attaining thorough functional coverage while the system is being verified. CDV is not a specific protocol. The use of coverage metrics, such as code coverage, assertion coverage, and functional coverage, is central to the concept of coverage-based verification (CDV), which aims to evaluate the level of verification and pinpoint problem areas that need further examination. CDV methods and techniques are used to assist in the identification of verification gaps, which helps to ensure that essential components of the design are rigorously tested and verified.


Assertion-Based Verification (ABV) is a methodology that uses formal and assertion languages to define and check design properties. Some examples of these languages include SystemVerilog Assertions (SVA) and Property Specification Language (PSL). The use of ABV makes it possible for VLSI designs to have their complicated behaviors and properties formally verified. Verification engineers are able to catch design mistakes, corner cases, and functional violations that may be difficult to find using traditional simulation-based techniques. This is accomplished by providing assertions in the verification process.


Verification and validation of very large scale integrated circuit designs are critical phases in the process of developing reliable and functional integrated circuits. UVM, SystemVerilog, OVM, VMM, DPI, PSS, CDV, and ABV are examples of industry protocols that provide standardized methodologies, frameworks, and interfaces to make verification operations more efficient and effective. It is possible for designers and verification engineers to increase productivity, improve testbench reusability, obtain complete coverage, and guarantee the resilience and reliability of VLSI designs by using these protocols.