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The Cost Of Accuracy

By Brian Bailey, Semiconductor Engineering

How accurate does a system need to be, and what are you willing to pay for that accuracy? There are many sources of inaccuracy throughout the development flow of electronic systems, most of which involve complex tradeoffs. Inaccuracy leaves an impact on your design in ways you are not even aware of, hidden by best practices or guard-banding. EDA tools also inject some inaccuracy.


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To understand what accuracy means, we have to be able to quantify it. “What we need first of all is consensus on metrics and, of course, standards should play a bigger role,” says Jörg Grosse, product manager for functional safety at OneSpin Solutions. “EDA companies must provide not just tools, but solutions that help users achieve all their targets with automation and adequate accuracy. Even formal tools, which are the antithesis of approximation, can provide rigorous results that match the pragmatic needs of IP and SoC developers. In safety applications, for example, the accuracy of formal results may depend on which design stage the analysis is applied to, the fault sample, or the type of analysis done.”


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