The Hardware Verification Technologies Department specializes in high-quality research, design and development in the domain of functional verification of hardware. The main mission of the department is to build cutting-edge technologies along with accompanying methodologies to assist IBM with the complex task of designing and verifying the next generation processors and chips. Our expertise in this domain goes back over 30 years, during which we pioneered several of the practices currently prevalent in the industry. Some of these include:

  • The use of constraint solving capabilities for stimuli generation in the domain of functional verification hardware. This includes separating the architecture description (model) from the generation engine.
  • A scalable formal verification technology which employs state-of-the-art model checking algorithms with extensive support for all common design and specification languages, including PSL (an IEEE standard specification language invented by our department).
  • A powerful solution for post-silicon validation aimed at finding intricate bugs that may occur in complex multi-processing scenarios or under advanced memory management constraints, such as transactional memories.

Our primary customer is IBM Systems, the organization within IBM responsible for designing and verifying IBM’s POWER® and Mainframe Processors; nevertheless, many of our tools are generic and are used by external customers as well.

The technologies developed in our department received multiple IBM awards. Our overall contribution to IBM hardware was awarded an IBM Research Extraordinary Accomplishment, the highest rank technical accomplishment awarded by IBM Research.

In our ongoing endeavor to develop the next generation of verification tools and capabilities that can meet the increasing needs of our customers, we have embraced some new exciting directions. For example, we are harnessing analytics to provide insights on big data collected during the verification process. In addition, we are researching techniques to help verify that a given hardware design meets its performance requirements. Recently we also started exploring new hardware platforms such as dedicated hardware for cognitive computation as well as quantum computers.

Manager

Laurent Fournier, Manager Hardware Verification Technologies, IBM Research - Haifa