You are here

Behind the looking glass: A meta-talk on the reality of creating embedded test ecosystems for ASIC HW Functional Verification

Testing is often perceived by product developers as a non-creative activity.

​These developers are surprised when they discover the amount of work that goes into creating, growing, and maintaining the testing ecosystem. For the functional testing of complex ASIC devices this ecosystem involves almost all aspects of new product development: hardware, electronics, firmware, software, tools, architecture, reverse engineering, hacking, and innovation, as well as all the usual soft skills for teams and team members to communicate and work well together. The ecosystem's components follow typical product lifecycles just as the 'customer' products do.

​In fact, the development of embedded testing ecosystems mirrors most aspects of 'customer' product development.

​The surprise of the uninitiated developers, when they realise what is going on behind the scenes, would have been charming and amusing, had it been only just a rare occurrence. Unfortunately it is so regular that it is time to raise awareness: embedded testing is complex, it is creative, and it can even be liberating from the constrains of 'regular' product development.

​In this talk I will challenge the negative image perceptions of this interesting field and attempt to dispel them. I will use real life examples, drawing from my experience, and I will explain how my team has organised our embedded testing ecosystem. I hope this talk shows that embedded test development, when done correctly, can be just as complex and rewarding as any product development.

​Key takeaways: 

  • Developing embedded test systems is creative and rewarding.
  • The development of embedded test systems is equivalent to customer product development.
  • A presentation of different components involved in an ASIC embedded functional verification ecosystem