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[NOTE: This document is based on the Jove FAQ, last updated October 19, 2005. Other than translation to Markdown, it has not been substantially updated since then.]

What is Jove?

Jove is a set of Java APIs and tools to enable Verilog hardware design verification using the Java programming language. It contains components that accomplish the following:

  • Verilog simulator interaction (via PLI 2.0, aka VPI)
  • standalone behavioral simulation (i.e. a discrete event simulator)
  • thread and event synchronization
  • design verification abstractions (e.g. clock-relative signal access, mailboxes, semaphores)
  • constraint-based randomization
  • Verilog shell generation

In other words, it provides facilities similar to Synopsys Vera, Cadence Testbuilder, and (formerly) Verisity Specman.

Why Jove?

Verification has become a very software-intensive task, and Jove is intended to leverage Java's strengths as a robust software engineering environment to deal with very large, complex verification codebases.

  • Jove leverages the Java language, a standard, well-defined, high-productivity object-oriented programming language. Alternative tools introduce proprietary languages, or use more complex, less productive languages, like C/C++ or Perl.
  • Jove leverages Java libraries, including the extensive Java runtime library, the JUnit test framework, and thousands of third-party libraries. Java libraries tend to be much easier to integrate than libraries in earlier mature languages, such as C/C++.
  • Jove leverages Java tools, such as Javadoc and Eclipse. The Eclipse IDE, for instance, provides Jove users with a free, powerful GUI debugger.
  • Jove leverages Java Virtual Machine technology, arguably the most mature, high-performance VM technology available, with performance rivaling compiled languages in most cases.
  • Jove leverages the experience of a software-oriented team executing the complete lifecycle of a very complex ASIC verification project. It addresses the limitations encountered using other tools during that project.

What is the status of Jove?

Jove should be considered relatively stable and mature (though like most free software, it carries no warranties of any kind; see the license for details). It has been in production use for the verification of Newisys' Horus ASIC, running a verification codebase of over 400K lines of Java source, since February 2005 and has proven exceptionally stable.

What platforms does Jove support?

Most of Jove is written in the Java 5.0 language, and should therefore work on any platform with a Java 5.0 JDK. Specifically, Java-only behavioral simulations should work on any Java platform. However, the Verilog simulator support is written in C++ and therefore tends to need tweaking to work on new platforms. The table below lists platforms that Jove has been tested on so far.

Operating System Processor Architecture Supported Simulators
Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3 Intel x86 Synopsys VCS, GPL Cver
Microsoft Windows XP + Cygwin 1.5.18-1 Intel x86 GPL Cver
Apple Mac OS X 10.4.2 + J2SE 5.0 Release 1 PowerPC GPL Cver

What Verilog simulators does Jove support?

Jove is designed to be easily ported to any simulator supporting PLI 2.0 / VPI. It has been tested with the simulators listed in the table below. We hope that support for other simulators will be forthcoming.

Simulator Status Notes
Synopsys VCS Extensively tested Jove exposed various bugs in the VCS VPI implementation, most of which have been fixed in recent versions, so using the latest version is recommended.
Pragmatic C GPL Cver Minimal testing Tested with version 2.11a, which requires a patch to fix a bug in setting Start of Sim Time callbacks.

How is Jove licensed?

Jove is licensed under the Open Software License 2.0. It also includes the following third-party software:

  • PLI4J - A Java™ Interface to the Verilog PLI
    Copyright © 2003 Trevor Robinson
    Licensed under the Academic Free License 2.0 (see LICENSE-afl-2.0.txt).
  • JavaBDD
    Copyright © 2003 John Whaley
    Licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (see LICENSE-lgpl.txt).
  • Generated code from JavaCC™
    Copyright © 2003 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Licensed under a BSD-style license (see LICENSE-javacc.txt).

Product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. Java is a trademark or registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Who wrote Jove?

Jove was created at Newisys, Inc. The project was conceived and architected by Trevor Robinson. Jon Nall implemented the random solver and BitVector components, and performed most of the bring-up and testing. Scott Diesing implemented the behavioral simulator. Mark Davis managed the project. Jove also includes some third-party software, listed above.


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