An observation that I have made over the years is that successful verification does not happen by accident. This is certainly true with contemporary advanced functional verification techniques, such as constrained-random and coverage-driven verification. To get the most out of these new technologies projects must treat verification as a process and carefully plan it. The same is true for advanced formal property checking. Failure to successfully deploy formal on many projects is often due to the ad hoc approach many teams use when trying to adopt it. Dr Ashish Darbari understands this and has a wealth of industry experience in establishing a repeatable process to maximize the successful adoption of formal on a wide variety of design projects. Dr Darbari provides the missing knowledge required for project teams to successfully and productively get the most out of formal technologies.
I had the pleasure of working alongside Ashish at OneSpin. In nine short months I witnessed him transforming the technology base of the company, driving next-generation customer methodologies built upon OneSpin’s leading products. OneSpin is a far better operation thanks to Ashish and the end-user orientation that he brought to the organization. He introduced a different level of thinking to the support and service oriented personnel in the company, turning these engineers into a customer savvy expert group. He also focused the company’s technology development to drive high-value capabilities across the board.
Ashish has pioneered some world-class methods for scalable formal verification. His accomplishments include nearly 40 patents and many peer review published papers in top conferences. He brings a unique perspective in applying formal to hard problems, something that became clear to me when he mentored AEs at OneSpin to the use of formal on complex designs. He possesses one of the sharpest verification minds I have had the pleasure of encountering in my 25 years of EDA verification experience.
On top of his technical expertise, I have very much enjoyed working with Ashish on a personal level. He is co-operative, hard working and highly effective. He never fails to deliver, even on the toughest projects. He is always pleasant and easy going. He is a huge asset to any organization. I congratulate Ashish on his next endeavor and I know he will have a significant impact at many verification teams.
Dr Darbari trained our internal AE teams on scalable formal verification methodology which our teams used recently for verifying complex designs with great success. He applied what appeared to be the right balance between hands-on and off mentoring which enabled engineers from our customers to become good at applying formal.
Ashish is one of rare breed of people who values and thrives off theory and implementation in equal measure. The Advanced Verification Methodologies group he runs at Imagination Technologies thrives off the project work they consistently deliver to the various divisions. His passion for teaching and learning is unbound. His academic and industrial network continues to amaze me. Above all, it is his deep respect & care for the work that he does that has enabled him to make real cultural change within Imagination and inspire dozens of engineers into a field typically held as an impregnable dark art. In sort – a thought leader who gets his hands dirty.
Ashish had been an excellent mentor and colleague at Imagination Technologies. He taught me and members of my team in Imagination Technologies about HW formal verification using System Verilog Assertions. This formal verification training was very valuable, and it didn’t require any prior formal verification knowledge. As well as being an excellent teacher, Ashish is also an excellent engineer and a good project manager. I would highly recommend Ashish for formal verification and his excellent training in the same field.
Ashish has a phenomenal wealth of formal verification knowledge gained from many years of academic study and industrial application. Not only that, but his belief and passion in the power of formal is infectious. Under Ashish’s leadership the Advanced Verification Methodologies group grew from one man into a team of engineers producing papers and patents based on real project innovations, while the training course he pioneered has been delivered to more than 100 engineers across the globe, some of whom now work full time with formal technology.
I had the chance to take a formal verification training developed by Ashish. Going to a training with no prior experience on the topic and coming out with a reasonable confidence in getting started with a project in the relevant field gave me a new experience. The training material was full with specific problems that had to be tackled in real projects, thus it dismissed the possibility to fall in a typical mistake to build examples purely for demonstration purpose that lacks any resemblance to a real problem. The laboratory exercises made sure to satisfy the demand for playing around with different solutions for the problems at hand. Both people with and without verification can benefit from the training, so in case of interest, I strongly recommend it.
A significant impact of Prof Darbari’s activities over the three years has been an increased appreciation amongst Electronics Engineering students and academics at Southampton of the importance of formal verification on hardware design and its strong industrial relevance. As a result of the 1 Day course in May 2017 some of the PhD students have explored hardware verification methods further as part of their research. An undergraduate who attended the course is now considering continuing to a PhD on formal verification.
The MSc/Part 4 course was received very well by the students, with several MSc students expressing an interest in pursuing formal verification of hardware designs in the future .
Ashish and I have worked (and continue to work) on problems of shared research interest in formal verification. It has always been a pleasure to work with him. Ashish brings with him a unique balanced perspective of theory and practice of formal verification, articulates ideas extremely well, and never loses sight of the bigger picture while attending to details. His ingenuity, willingness to learn and share, hands-on approach to problem solving and hard-working nature would make him a true asset to any R&D organization he chooses to work with.
Ashish is very strong in the fundamentals of formal methods and its applications in industrial applications. The clarity and skill was evident when he adapted the concepts of formal verification techniques in digital systems to the embedded systems domain and came up with some invention disclosures during his short stint in the General Motors research lab in Bangalore, India. His knowledge of the state-of-the-art in verification is sound. What is even more commendable is his passion to disseminate the knowledge to further the boundaries. He has great networking skills. Great team player and communicator !!
Ashish first nudged me towards formal a few years ago, when I took an excellent 1-week formal class, which he both developed and taught. Being firmly entrenched in the dynamic simulation mindset and swamped in work during that course, I didn’t apply it immediately and it took me awhile to come around to using it. Now however, a few years later, I realize what a great jump-start his class gave me both in understanding the basics of how formal tools work and how and where to apply appropriate formal techniques. He is a great teacher. I only wish that initial nudge was a kick in the ass - now that I appreciate the value of formal.
I found Ashish’s extensive work in formal abstractions at Imagination very useful in getting formal verification checks to converge to a timely conclusion where previously they would be stuck at an undetermined status. I have also been impressed by his energy and drive as witnessed by the extensive formal verification training materials created by him at Imagination comprising PowerPoint presentations and videos, as well as the constant development of better practical ways of using formal in projects from planning and implementation to having appropriate sign-off criteria.