What are some projects that can be done under VLSI verification?

The future of VLSI is bright. VLSI, analog, digital or mixed signal is needed everywhere. Decades ago, a car had just a few electronic components, mainly analog. Nowadays a car has thousands of chips inside. Nowadays, automation and smart devices are the future. Robots, drones, they all need hardware and software (besides mechanics) for their tasks. Hence, there will be a wider variety of solutions needed and this is good news for the VLSI industry.

Every ASIC designer starts his career as verification engineer. They learn the syntax of one or more HDL’s, hardware description languages like VHDL and verilog. The syntax of these languages has behavioural and RTL implementations. RTL means that the code can be translated by a synthesis tool into hardware, gates and flops. Behavioural code is not necessarily synthesizable and for testbenches for example, it doesn’t need to be synthesizable. Hence a verification engineer does not need to worry about the synthesizability of his code. He writes testbenches and runs simulations. A designer needs more experince with HDL’s, he understands the subset of the HDL that is synthesizable and knows the relationship between his code and the hardware. He can already foresee timing issues by coding accordingly, for example pipeline arithmetic algotihms. A desgner needs a text editor, scripting experience, simulation experience and digital logic knowledge (including synthesis). A verification engineer needs a text editor, some scritping experience and use a simulator.

If you are just graduating, the best thing you can do is look at some cheap FPGA development boards, they come with a complete toolset (simulator, place and route) and a lot of example projects. Today you can find new boards for less than 100$ (from known FPGA development board makers like Terasic for example).

Kyle

Hardware and software advisor for tech startups. ASIC, FPGA, RPi, Arduino, AI, robots, drones, blockchain, Machine learning, vision processing, IoT and 3D printers are my fields of expertise.
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