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IBM Property Specification Language Selected as New EDA Standard

'Sugar' addresses industry need for advanced verification tools

Haifa, Israel - 25 Apr 2002: IBM today announced that the Accellera standards organization has selected IBM's formal property specification language, Sugar 2.0 developed by IBM researchers in Haifa, as a basis for standardization. Sugar is expected to gain widespread industry support as an interface, driving forward assertion-based verification in simulation and formal verification, the two prevailing techniques for assuring correctness of chip design prior to fabrication.

"Accellera's selection of Sugar as a standard is a key step for the EDA and chip design industries," said Dr. Michael Rodeh, director of the IBM Research lab in Haifa. "Sugar will serve as solid ground which the EDA and chip design industries can leverage to accelerate development and deployment of advanced verification tools. By providing developers and engineers with a standard language, companies will be able to focus on providing competitive advantages to customers in the microprocessor/ASIC market."

Sugar has been an integral part of IBM’s formal verification toolset since 1995, and is used in tools made available to IBM ASIC customers as part of the Blue Logic Design Methodology flow. The use of IBM’s formal and semi-formal verification tools has resulted in an increased confidence in correct chip function and faster time to market, both internally and outside IBM.

The expressiveness of Sugar allows users to easily describe properties, thereby saving time and effort in the verification cycle. Sugar is used in tools such as FoCs, which takes functional properties (a.k.a. "assertions") written in the Sugar language and translates them into Verilog/VHDL monitors, which in turn are integrated into the simulation environment. These monitors track simulation results on a cycle-by-cycle basis for violation of the properties. The result is an increased confidence in correct chip function and faster time to market. Another central use of Sugar is for formal verification tools such as RuleBase which offer mathematical proof that a given design satisfies a set of given requirements - specified in Sugar.

Dennis Brophy, Chairman of Accellera commented, "The Accellera Formal Property Language Committee has worked for the last year to provide a standard property language, and has reached an important milestone. It selected IBM’s technology -- the Sugar language -- after an analysis of several languages. IBM provided language enhancements that support close to 100% of the committee’s requirements, and the committee unified on the selection of IBM's technology as the source for a new industry standard to drive tool, algorithm and methodology development to solve next-generation verification problems." Brophy added, "I am also pleased that IBM will donate a language parser to accelerate its adoption."

The selection of Sugar as a standard could accelerate the pace of development within the verification tools market. "We are very pleased to see that the Accellera Formal Verification Technical Committee has selected IBM's Sugar 2.0 as the basis for the standard assertion language", said Erich Marschner, a Senior Architect and Cadence's representative in the Accellera standardization effort. Other major industry players have also announced their support for the selection of Sugar as a standard property language.

IBM also revealed plans to release a reference implementation of a compiler in source code form for the Sugar language by or before the Design Automation Conference, held June 10 -- 14, 2002 in New Orleans.

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