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  • CEO Interview: Cristian Amitroaie of AMIQ EDA

    AMIQ EDA has caught my attention over the last few months. My first impression was that this was just another small IDE company trying to compete with established and bundled IDEs from the big 3, a seemingly insurmountable barrier. This view was challenged by an impressive list of testimonials, not just from the little guys but also from designers in many of the bigger companies. In fact, hats off to them also for getting endorsements through this method, bypassing impossible-to-extract corporate endorsements. So it seemed worth learning more about this company. A discussion with Cristian, as the CEO of AMIQ EDA, was a good place to start.

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    Who is AMIQ EDA?
    We’re an EDA company. We provide software tools to help design and verification engineers improve the speed and quality of new code development, simplify legacy code maintenance, accelerate language and methodology learning, and improve source code reliability. Our goal is bolstering the productivity of writing and debugging code while also increasing the chances that the code does what you intend. To use a phrase that I’ve seen before in EDA, we improve engineering efficiency and efficacy. That’s a fancy way of saying that we help design and verification engineers do their jobs.

    How did the company start?
    AMIQ EDA began in 2008, but we are actually a spinoff from our partner company AMIQ Consulting. They have been providing services and training in functional verification, verification planning and management, verification IP development, and related fields since 2003. In the course of their work they found they lacked certain tools that could make them more effective, so they began developing their own solutions in-house. We formed AMIQ EDA to bring these products to the general market and to develop new tools around similar objectives. This has worked out very well as judged by our customer’s response.

    What keeps your customers up at night?
    There are many design and verification languages and formats in use today, and it takes time to learn them and to become proficient. There are also numerous libraries and methodologies built on top of these languages, so there is a lot to absorb. We make it easier to learn all this technology, but we don’t stop there. Chip size and complexity continue to grow, and there’s no way that even expert users can manage their design and verification projects with simple text editors and Unix shell utilities. They find especially that it is challenging to keep many different side files (assertions, power intent, testbenches and others) aligned against signal and module names with the RTL as the design evolves.

    How does an IDE help them?
    For years, software engineers have relied on IDEs to help them write, format, and debug their code. We started development of an IDE for hardware design and verification engineers in 2005, so now we have a mature and full-featured solution: the Design and Verification Tools (DVT) Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE). We support Verilog, SystemVerilog, Verilog AMS, VHDL, VMM, OVM, UVM, UPF, CPF, e, SDL, SLN, and more. We’ve moved into new domains such as power intent verification and portable stimulus specification while continuing to support existing languages and methodologies. DVT Eclipse IDE compiles your code and signals errors as you type, speeds up code writing using auto-complete and quick fix proposals, and finds anything you are looking for instantly. Our customers are very enthusiastic about how much time they save in aligning design and side files through these edit aids, checks and side-by-side views, so much so that they’re already suggesting more ways we can help.

    Do you have other products?
    Yes, we do. DVT Debugger allows you to perform debugging from the same place where you develop your code. You don’t need to keep switching between your editor and the simulator. DVT Debugger is integrated with all major simulators to bring run-time information into DVT Eclipse IDE. You might wonder why this is needed given the prominence of some commercial debug platforms but in fact a lot of users today work with mixed verification platforms leveraging popular waveform viewers from outside the big 3. DVT Debugger unifies debug in these environments.

    If you’re doing verification with SystemVerilog, our Verissimo SystemVerilog Testbench Linter will enforce your specific group or corporate coding guidelines. This ensures consistency and best practices in code development. We build in deep knowledge of the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) library, but we also support custom SystemVerilog environments. With hundreds of rules inspired by real-life projects, in the past three years Verissimo has been widely adopted as “the testbench linting standard.” Our customers are using Verissimo as part of their everyday code qualification process and they are constantly monitoring code quality using fully automated dashboards.

    Finally, Specador is a tool that automatically generates accurate HTML documentation from your source code, even when the code is poorly documented. Most tools that generate documentation just extract and combine comments from your source code. All our tools, including Specador, compile and analyze source code to understand the organization and links within your environment. For example, Specador outputs cross-linked class inheritance trees, design hierarchies, and diagrams. Because the tool is language-aware, the resulting documentation is organized by language specific concepts, including both relationship and structural information.

    How big is AMIQ EDA?
    We accomplish a lot with a small team of about 15 R&D engineers. We are based in Bucharest, Romania and have sales and support channels around the world. Many people are unfamiliar with the high-tech environment in Romania, where tens of thousands of engineers work for thousands of companies. We have access to a great pool of talent!

    Can you identify some of your customers?
    Our solutions have been adopted worldwide by more than 100 companies in more than 30 countries. We provide many testimonials directly from our users on our Web site at https://www.dvteclipse.com/testimonials. You’ll see not only that they like our products but also they like our responsiveness. Their needs drive improvements in our products which, as a small company, we can turn around quickly. Proving that you don’t have to be a big company to have popular products!

    Where can readers learn more?
    Checkout out our website: http://www.amiq.com/