As the growth of new data-intensive applications and computing workloads continues to accelerate, so has the emergence of different interconnect standards and protocols that manage the dataflow. This has significantly increased chip complexity for design and verification teams. With prevailing pressures of rigid time-to-market windows and elevated design differentiation required from systems-on-chip (SoCs), protocol conformance has become an increasingly important priority on every chipmaker’s agenda.
Most of the interface protocol standards designed today — be it PCI Express® 6.0 (PCIe®), Compute Express Link ™ (CXL™), 800G Ethernet, or High Bandwidth Memory (HBM3) — are largely driven by the growth in data center, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Such protocols allow for high throughput, low latency, and power-efficient external connectivity in SoCs that drive performance improvements by orders of magnitude across dimensions, including increased data rates and cache coherence between chips. The economics of designing large SoCs with the goal of packing more functions onto a single chip package is driving chiplet-based designs and the need for die-to-die standards such as Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe).
Naturally, it’s quite challenging to verify the functional accuracy and protocol compliance of these SoC designs filled with blocks of commercial or in-house developed IP that are based on complex, industry-standard interface protocols.
Read on to learn more about key protocol verification challenges teams face today, the shift in chipmakers’ mindset towards electronic design automation (EDA) companies, why advanced protocol verification is key to bulletproof designs, and how a robust ecosystem can drive SoC innovation.
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