[cross-post]path verification

A

alb

Dear all,

I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.

That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.

There are several reasons why I do not particularly like this approach:

1. it relies on post-layout sims which are resource consuming
2. if we change technology we will likely need to do the whole process
again
3. we are obliged to perform incremental place&route since an optimized
implementation (maybe done automatically) may have an impact on our
delays.

So far we have not come out with an alternative solution that is not
going to imply redesign (like pipelining, c-slowing, retiming, ...).

Any ideas/suggestions?

Al
 
G

glen herrmannsfeldt

In comp.arch.fpga alb said:
I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.

So you paid someone for this?

I am not sure what you mean by "a certain number of clock cycles"
and "do not know how many".

If it is all combinatorial, it will complete with some delay, not
in some number of clock cycles. That is, the delay will not depend
on any clock you supply. You then have to either be able to run
the design through timing analysis and see how long that is, or the
ones you bought it from should tell you.

Though more usual, the logic should have a signal indicating when
the result is valid.

You could run the FPU in the timing tools with a variety (random)
inputs and find out how long it takes. Then find the distribution
of delays, and find a reasonable maximum. It might be data dependent
and have a long tail. (A post-normalize shifter might depend on the
number of digits being shifted, and the rare long shifts would have
to be accounted for.)
That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.
There are several reasons why I do not particularly like this approach:
1. it relies on post-layout sims which are resource consuming
2. if we change technology we will likely need to do the whole process
again
3. we are obliged to perform incremental place&route since an optimized
implementation (maybe done automatically) may have an impact on our
delays.
So far we have not come out with an alternative solution that is not
going to imply redesign (like pipelining, c-slowing, retiming, ...).

The FPUs that I know of should be pipelined. (Is there a clock input?)
You shouldn't have to do the pipelining, but you do need to know the
number of clock cycles (and clock rate) for each operation.

If the design is encrypted, such that you can't look at it, they
need to give you enough information to be able to use it.

-- glen
 
A

alb

Hi Glen,

In comp.arch.fpga glen herrmannsfeldt said:
So you paid someone for this?

that is correct. Well it was a development on a european project where
several universities did something and then we tried to stich it
together... The aim was to have a small footprint embedded
microcontroller capable of floating-point calculations.
I am not sure what you mean by "a certain number of clock cycles"
and "do not know how many".

I admit I was not too clear, let's try again. The IP is the FPU and it
came fully verified but never validated on the hardware (i.e. no P&R, no
STA, no backannotate sim). We built around it a microcontroller and now
it is time to target the technology for the specific project.

So at this stage we do not know, considering the target logic, what is
the logic depth for each operation of the FPU and we do not know how
many clock cycles we need to wait in order to get the value out at the
given target frequency.
If it is all combinatorial, it will complete with some delay, not
in some number of clock cycles. That is, the delay will not depend
on any clock you supply. You then have to either be able to run
the design through timing analysis and see how long that is, or the
ones you bought it from should tell you.

As you correctly pointed out the delay does not depend on the clock
frequency, but it depends on the target technology and final routing. In
order for the microcontroller to work correctly I need to 'wait' for
each specific operation a certain amount of clock cycles in order to be
able to sample correctly the result.

I already know that, at the target frequency, it will take more than one
cycle to complete most of the operations, therefore my timing analysis
will fail miserably. Not only that, without releasing some timing
constraints on some specific path, the synthesis tool will take the
worst path and extract the max frequency from that [1].

Regarding the possibility to ask the developer(s), the team has fallen
apart in the meanwhile and now we need to chase people around the globe
to get some info (not easy).
Though more usual, the logic should have a signal indicating when
the result is valid.

that is a valid point indeed, I implicitely assumed there's no such
signal, but is equally possible that we haven't 'seen it'. In order to
find something you should look for it...
You could run the FPU in the timing tools with a variety (random)
inputs and find out how long it takes. Then find the distribution
of delays, and find a reasonable maximum. It might be data dependent
and have a long tail. (A post-normalize shifter might depend on the
number of digits being shifted, and the rare long shifts would have
to be accounted for.)

I'm not sure I'm following. If for timing tools you mean STA than
there's no such a thing like 'variety of inputs', the tool is static and
is only calculating delays associated with paths in a graph. What you
suggest seems more a post-layout simulation...did I get it wrong?

Running the STA without constraining the synthesis tool might be
suboptimal since the synthesis tool did not come out with an optimized
implementation.
That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.
[]

The FPUs that I know of should be pipelined. (Is there a clock input?)
You shouldn't have to do the pipelining, but you do need to know the
number of clock cycles (and clock rate) for each operation.

The FPU is not pipelined otherwise I would have known the amount of
clock cycles simply with the depth of the pipe. Am I wrong? Why is not
pipelined is a different topic.
If the design is encrypted, such that you can't look at it, they
need to give you enough information to be able to use it.

The design is not encrypted but nobody really wanted to dig into those
details so far. I agree with you that is probably worth spending some
effort to understand how it works in the details and come out with a
solution that is suited to fix the root of the problem rather than come
up with ad-hoc solutions.
 
A

alb

forgot to add a note that I refer to in my previous article...

alb said:
I already know that, at the target frequency, it will take more than one
cycle to complete most of the operations, therefore my timing analysis
will fail miserably. Not only that, without releasing some timing
constraints on some specific path, the synthesis tool will take the
worst path and extract the max frequency from that [1].
[]

[1] I actually do not know the way the synthesis tool works, but it
seems my simple model pretty much matches what is happening
 
H

HT-Lab

Dear all,

I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.

That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.

There are several reasons why I do not particularly like this approach:

1. it relies on post-layout sims which are resource consuming
2. if we change technology we will likely need to do the whole process
again
3. we are obliged to perform incremental place&route since an optimized
implementation (maybe done automatically) may have an impact on our
delays.

So far we have not come out with an alternative solution that is not
going to imply redesign (like pipelining, c-slowing, retiming, ...).

Any ideas/suggestions?

I would suggest you speak to your boss to see if you can spend some
money on getting a Fishtail Focus license. This tool will automatically
extract multicyle and false path from your design. The output is a bunch
of SDC constraints and assertions (PSL/SVA) for verifications.

http://www.fishtail-da.com/

Regards,
Hans.
www.ht-lab.com
 
A

alb

Hi Glen, sorry for the delayed reply...been quite busy lately.
In comp.lang.vhdl glen herrmannsfeldt said:
I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.
[]
Though more usual, the logic should have a signal indicating when
the result is valid.

I have digged a little in the code and found a signal called /ready/ and
thought I solved my issues, but then wait a minute, how can you
implement a signal ready that takes into account a combinatorial path?
And even if, I need to inform my synthesis tool about those paths being
either multicycle paths or false paths, otherwise it'll try to make them
fit in a single clock cycle.

[]
The FPUs that I know of should be pipelined. (Is there a clock input?)
You shouldn't have to do the pipelining, but you do need to know the
number of clock cycles (and clock rate) for each operation.

For a pipelined FPU the signal /ready/ makes much more sense (at least
that's the only sense I see), but being not the case here I'll have to
find a different way to verify the design.
If the design is encrypted, such that you can't look at it, they
need to give you enough information to be able to use it.

I might have found a different approach. Being the FPU part of an
embedded microprocessor, I may take the advantage of having the
possibility to run a program on it and perform the verification with it.
My testbench would not generate any particular signal, just the ones
enough for the embedded processor to run, but the program loaded into it
will perform the FPU operations and check they are indeed correct. If
not I'll need to incrementally add a clock cycle delay before fetching
the result into the output register.

This approach might be very time consuming, but I see two main advantages:

1. it's totally agnostic w.r.t. the implementation. I do not need to
know the details and I can run it for any technology, without the need
to update my multicycle paths (I still need to keep the false path in
place though).

2. it's the simulator that works, not me. Considering how much I'm paid
per hour, I think it is much less expensive if a stupid machine does the
job instead of me.

I have not yet run a full-fledged program within modelsim, but I managed
to run a simple 'hello world' program with no time.

Al
 
R

rickman

Dear all,

I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.

That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.

There are several reasons why I do not particularly like this approach:

1. it relies on post-layout sims which are resource consuming
2. if we change technology we will likely need to do the whole process
again
3. we are obliged to perform incremental place&route since an optimized
implementation (maybe done automatically) may have an impact on our
delays.

So far we have not come out with an alternative solution that is not
going to imply redesign (like pipelining, c-slowing, retiming, ...).

Any ideas/suggestions?

Al

If I understand you correctly, you have a piece of combinatorial logic
and you need to know how fast it will run in your design. This will
then let your surrounding circuitry wait some number of clock cycles to
read the result, that give you a longer delay than the delay though the
logic.

I think your starting premise that multi-cycle constraints are "out of
the question" is where you have erred. Multi-cycle constraints are
exactly what are required and if you don't understand how to use them
you are not likely to get a good result.

Post P&R simulation is not a good way to validate timing because it is
so hard to cover every path through the logic. Static timing analysis
is the right way to do this and you need to learn to use it properly.
 
A

alb

Hi Rick,

rickman said:
I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.

That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.
[]

If I understand you correctly, you have a piece of combinatorial logic
and you need to know how fast it will run in your design. This will
then let your surrounding circuitry wait some number of clock cycles to
read the result, that give you a longer delay than the delay though the
logic.
Precisely.

I think your starting premise that multi-cycle constraints are "out of
the question" is where you have erred. Multi-cycle constraints are
exactly what are required and if you don't understand how to use them
you are not likely to get a good result.

There are two aspects here to consider:

1. multicycle constraints need not only a /from/ and /to/ parameter, they also
need a /through/ parameter. When you have a logic depth of 111 gates you start to
understand why a multicycle constraint cannot be a sustainable solution.

2. My experience in setting up multicycle constraints is nearly zero and starting
off with such an approach on this type of project would be begging for troubles.
Post P&R simulation is not a good way to validate timing because it is
so hard to cover every path through the logic. Static timing analysis
is the right way to do this and you need to learn to use it properly.

I've read several times on this group the skepticism behind static timing analysis
when multicycle constraints are in place. I have to search back in the archives to
really understand the technical motivations, but the bottom line is:

a. is difficult to maintain them; if the logic path has been optimized the
constraint does not work anymore
b. is difficult to verify them; if the path *is not* multicycle you may wrongly
relax the timing too much and never realize until another optimization takes place
and your circuit does not work any more.

If anyone sees a flaw in my points above I'd be glad to be corrected.

Al
 
H

HT-Lab

On 03/04/2014 08:05, alb wrote:

Hi Al,

...
I've read several times on this group the skepticism behind static timing analysis
when multicycle constraints are in place. I have to search back in the archives to
really understand the technical motivations, but the bottom line is:

a. is difficult to maintain them; if the logic path has been optimized the
constraint does not work anymore

I think you are confusing propagation (or false path) delay with
multicycle path delay. A multicycle delay is a synchronous "number of
clock cycle" based delay, it does not depend on the clock frequency. You
use this delay if you know your circuit takes n clock cycles to
propagate the result to the destination register.
b. is difficult to verify them;

You can easily verify them using assertions, see end of the pdf below:

https://www.synopsys.com/Community/..._pres/2005april/17_SystemVerilog_FishTail.pdf

As I mentioned in another thread, learn PSL, it is a real eye opener for
verification.

if the path *is not* multicycle you may wrongly
relax the timing too much and never realize until another optimization takes place
and your circuit does not work any more.

Not exactly, you will simply not get timing closure and your will
probably end up using more resources then necessary.

Regards,
Hans.
www ht-lab.com
 
A

alb

Hi Hans,

HT-Lab said:
a. is difficult to maintain them [multicycle constraints]; if the
logic path has been optimized the constraint does not work anymore

I think you are confusing propagation (or false path) delay with
multicycle path delay. A multicycle delay is a synchronous "number of
clock cycle" based delay, it does not depend on the clock frequency.

IMHO a multicycle path delay is a propagation delay specified as
relative to the clock period. Hence it *does* depend on the clock
frequency, while the propagation through your gates does not (it depends
on the technology).

If your path takes 12.3 ns you would have to set a multicycle constraint
of 2 with a 100MHz clock, but 3 with a 200MHz one.

A false path is a different story. You want to inform your synthesis
tool that a certain path is never going to be used so do not bother
optimizing it.
You
use this delay if you know your circuit takes n clock cycles to
propagate the result to the destination register.

If I know when I will be reading the result on the destination register
I may relax the time it will take to propagate the result, but on the
contrary if I want to know when is the earliest moment to go and get the
result, the multicycle path is of no use.
You can easily verify them using assertions, see end of the pdf below:

https://www.synopsys.com/Community/..._pres/2005april/17_SystemVerilog_FishTail.pdf

As I mentioned in another thread, learn PSL, it is a real eye opener for
verification.

It's in the pipe...a very long one unfortunately ;-) But thanks for the
pointer.

Can you verify if a certain path is not violating the setup time of your
register? Can you verify what is the delay it takes to go from
register A to register B through some logic?
if the path *is not* multicycle you may wrongly

Not exactly, you will simply not get timing closure and your will
probably end up using more resources then necessary.

Assume a single cycle path that you set to be multicycle because of
mistake in your analysis. The synthesis tool will not know if your
multicycle path is correct or wrong, therefore it will relax the timing
between the selected end points and you will sample the result at the
wrong time.

The STA will correctly report the path is indeed fulfilling the
constraint, but the logic will take the result too early. If you decided
not to roll your postlayout sim because you relied on your STA, then you
are set to find nasty surprises on the bench.

Al
 
H

HT-Lab

Hi Al,

Hi Hans,

HT-Lab said:
a. is difficult to maintain them [multicycle constraints]; if the
logic path has been optimized the constraint does not work anymore

I think you are confusing propagation (or false path) delay with
multicycle path delay. A multicycle delay is a synchronous "number of
clock cycle" based delay, it does not depend on the clock frequency.

IMHO a multicycle path delay is a propagation delay specified as
relative to the clock period. Hence it *does* depend on the clock
frequency, while the propagation through your gates does not (it depends
on the technology).

You still have your terminology wrong, here is a SDC example of an
typical MCP constraint:

set_multicycle_path 2 -from reg_alu* -to reg_mult*

Notice there is no time, just a natural number of clock cycles.
If your path takes 12.3 ns you would have to set a multicycle constraint
of 2 with a 100MHz clock, but 3 with a 200MHz one.

You are mixing your constraints. If your combinational path takes 12.3
ns you set a clock constraint of 81MHz. If you have a MCP in your design
you are most likely controlling the output register with an enable pin.
You do not use a MCP to constraint a propagation delay.

...
Can you verify if a certain path is not violating the setup time of your
register? Can you verify what is the delay it takes to go from
register A to register B through some logic?

Not with assertions,

Regards,
Hans.
www.ht-lab.com
 
K

KJ

You still have your terminology wrong, here is a SDC example of an
typical MCP constraint:

set_multicycle_path 2 -from reg_alu* -to reg_mult*

Notice there is no time, just a natural number of clock cycles.

The value of '2' though is computed based on the clock period. Alb already pointed that out earlier in the thread "If your path takes 12.3 ns you would have to set a multicycle constraint of 2 with a 100MHz clock, but 3 with a 200MHz one."

Kevin Jennings
 
A

alb

Hi Hans,

HT-Lab said:
You still have your terminology wrong, here is a SDC example of an
typical MCP constraint:

set_multicycle_path 2 -from reg_alu* -to reg_mult*

I apologize but I did not understand from this example what is wrong in
my terminology.
Notice there is no time, just a natural number of clock cycles.

reading out loud your MCP constraint:

'the propagation delay from reg_alu* to reg_mult* has to be smaller than
2 clock cycles (minus setup time)'

Notion of time is automatically inferred by your tool since it knows
what is the clock period for those particular registers. If the two
registers are in two different clock domains I doubt you can really set
a multicycle path constraint (at least it does not make sense to me).
You are mixing your constraints. If your combinational path takes 12.3
ns you set a clock constraint of 81MHz. If you have a MCP in your design
you are most likely controlling the output register with an enable pin.

I have to find out how much time I need to wait before sampling the
logic with my output enable. There are several (in the 100s) paths
between input and output (it's an fpu), therefore I can die under a pile
of multicycle path constraints.
You do not use a MCP to constraint a propagation delay.

IMHO yes you do. You are telling the synthesis tool that a particular
path (or branch of a graph) can have a propagation delay:

Tp < N * clock_period - Tsetup

rather than the usual:

Tp < clock_period - Tsetup

Why would you think the MCP does not constraint the propagation delay?

Al
 
H

HT-Lab

The value of '2' though is computed based on the clock period. Alb already pointed that out earlier in the thread "If your path takes 12.3 ns you would have to set a multicycle constraint of 2 with a 100MHz clock, but 3 with a 200MHz one."

We are taking about different issues here. My argument is that you
should not exchange a clock constraint for an MCP one,

Regards,
Hans.
www.ht-lab.com
 
H

HT-Lab

On 03/04/2014 14:48, alb wrote:

Hi AL,
Hi Hans,



I apologize but I did not understand from this example what is wrong in
my terminology.


reading out loud your MCP constraint:

'the propagation delay from reg_alu* to reg_mult* has to be smaller than
2 clock cycles (minus setup time)'

Notion of time is automatically inferred by your tool since it knows
what is the clock period for those particular registers. If the two
registers are in two different clock domains I doubt you can really set
a multicycle path constraint (at least it does not make sense to me).


I have to find out how much time I need to wait before sampling the
logic with my output enable. There are several (in the 100s) paths
between input and output (it's an fpu), therefore I can die under a pile
of multicycle path constraints.

Poor choice of words on my part, I should have said you don't use an MCP
constraint as a clock constraint.

Regards,
Hans.
www.ht-lab.com
 
K

KJ

I have to find out how much time I need to wait before sampling the
logic with my output enable. There are several (in the 100s) paths
between input and output (it's an fpu), therefore I can die under a pile
of multicycle path constraints.

You should be able to wild card the path sources inside your block and specify exactly the output enable signal. There should be no need to specify each path source explicitly.

Kevin Jennings
 
R

rickman

On 4/3/2014 3:05 AM, alb wrote:> Hi Rick,
rickman said:
I have a microcontroller with an FPU which is delivered as an IP (I mean
the FPU). In order to run at a decent frequency, some of the operations
are allowed to complete in within a certain amount of cycles, but the
main problem is that we do not know how many.

That said, if we run the synthesis tool without timing constraints on
those paths, we have a design that is much slower than can be.
Multicycle constraints are out of question because they are hard to
verify and maintain, so we decided to set false paths and perform
post-layout sims to extract those values to be used in the RTL in a
second iteration.
[]

If I understand you correctly, you have a piece of combinatorial logic
and you need to know how fast it will run in your design. This will
then let your surrounding circuitry wait some number of clock cycles to
read the result, that give you a longer delay than the delay though the
logic.
Precisely.

I think your starting premise that multi-cycle constraints are "out of
the question" is where you have erred. Multi-cycle constraints are
exactly what are required and if you don't understand how to use them
you are not likely to get a good result.

There are two aspects here to consider:

1. multicycle constraints need not only a /from/ and /to/ parameter, they also
need a /through/ parameter. When you have a logic depth of 111 gates you start to
understand why a multicycle constraint cannot be a sustainable solution.

I can't say I follow that. I have only ever specified a from and to
parameter for a timing constraint. I have never needed to indicate a
"through" parameter. If you have special sections of the logic that
need a shorter timing constraint than others, I would expect that to be
a subset of the from and to, not a special "though" path. Is there
something unique about your design that a simple from and to spec
doesn't capture the nuance?

2. My experience in setting up multicycle constraints is nearly zero and starting
off with such an approach on this type of project would be begging
for troubles.

How much experience do you have with any of the other approaches you are
trying? I mean, you are here asking for advice. So clearly there are
things about each of these approaches you are not familiar with.

I've read several times on this group the skepticism behind static timing analysis
when multicycle constraints are in place. I have to search back in the archives to
really understand the technical motivations, but the bottom line is:

a. is difficult to maintain them; if the logic path has been optimized the
constraint does not work anymore

I don't follow that either. It is seldom that any from/to path would be
optimized away. If it is, it is likely due to an error in your code
which you will need to fix anyway.

b. is difficult to verify them; if the path *is not* multicycle you may wrongly
relax the timing too much and never realize until another optimization takes place
and your circuit does not work any more.

ALL timing constraints are difficult to verify... no, make that
impossible. That has always been one of my complaints about static
timing analysis, there is no way to verify the constraints other than
the coverage number which is just a pass/fail sort of thing.

If anyone sees a flaw in my points above I'd be glad to be corrected.

Perhaps I am missing something. ???
 
R

rickman

We are taking about different issues here. My argument is that you
should not exchange a clock constraint for an MCP one,

I think you are misreading what is intended. It is assumed there is
already a clock timing constraint of 100 MHz. That is for the general
logic in this clock domain. But for a certain section of logic the
output of the logic is not used for some number of clock cycles that
will be determined by the delay through the logic which is expected to
be longer than one clock cycle.

The OP wants to set this number of clock cycles in the timing
constraints of that special path to verify that the P&R output will work
with the timing he has picked. If the timing fails he has the options
of working to improve the timing in the P&R or changing the logic of the
register enable to allow more clock cycles for this path.

In no case would he want to change the timing constraint on the clock
since that constraint is set by other aspects of his design goals.

Do I misunderstand what you are trying to say?
 
A

alb

Hi Kevin,

KJ said:
You should be able to wild card the path sources inside your block and
specify exactly the output enable signal. There should be no need to
specify each path source explicitly.

Imagine an fpu, with two input registers for the operands, one for the
operator and an output register for the result. The result register is
the one that will receive the output enable.

Depending on the operator I will have a different path. If I wildcard
the path sources than I'm overly constraining and a 'nop' operation will
take as much as a division operation, which is not what we want.

Since most of the combinatorial functions are reused several times in
each operation, the datapath starts to be painfully complicated. That is
the main reason why I discarded the option to setup multicycle
constraints.

The alternative, though, is not very palatable either. We decided to set
false paths between the above mentioned registers and let post-par sim
figure out whether we are in or out with our output enable. The problem
is that post-par simulation may not cover the whole set of timing
scerarios the logic will encounter.

For instance I do not know if a backannotated simulation includes clock
skew, while AFAIK it shoudl be taken into account in STA. The described
approach tries to verify timing, but I'm not sure this is really going
to be risk free.

Certainly I can add some jitter to my clock within the simulation itself
to make it more /realistic/ , but I will certainly not cover all the
cases.

Considering the target FPGA is an RTAX2000 (~20'000$), we are kind of
unconfortable to proceed without a fully consistent picture.

Al
 
A

alb

Hi Rick,

rickman said:
I can't say I follow that. I have only ever specified a from and to
parameter for a timing constraint. I have never needed to indicate a
"through" parameter. If you have special sections of the logic that
need a shorter timing constraint than others, I would expect that to be
a subset of the from and to, not a special "though" path. Is there
something unique about your design that a simple from and to spec
doesn't capture the nuance?

Imagine your path between two registers (A and B) is set by another
register C. The resulting operation is to be stored in register D. If
you do not set a /through/ clause you will constraint each path with the
maximum delay, which is not desirable.
for troubles.

How much experience do you have with any of the other approaches you are
trying? I mean, you are here asking for advice. So clearly there are
things about each of these approaches you are not familiar with.

I've often done post-par sims, but it was combined with an STA,
therefore I've always been sure the design was correct as long as STA
did not report anything fishy *and* post-par sim succeeded.

Recently I started to look at post-par sims as an additional step which
is not necessarily required for synchronous logic as long as your input
constraints are well defined.

In this case we cannot use STA to do time analysis and I'm
unconfortable.
I don't follow that either. It is seldom that any from/to path would be
optimized away. If it is, it is likely due to an error in your code
which you will need to fix anyway.

I certainly was talking about the /through/ clause I mentioned earlier.
The synthesis tool might optimize away (or maybe rename) certain nets
and you're constraint will not be applicable anymore.
ALL timing constraints are difficult to verify... no, make that
impossible. That has always been one of my complaints about static
timing analysis, there is no way to verify the constraints other than
the coverage number which is just a pass/fail sort of thing.

That is why you'd be better off if you didn't have them! :)
 

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