Semiconductor Equipment

Joint networking SoC solution bridges gap between pre- and post-silicon verification

29 November 2023

An open-source Python-native driver package designed to improve the test automation user experience has just been announced by test and measurement solution provider Tektronix. Usable on a wide range of both Tektronix and Keithley devices, including oscilloscopes, digital multimeters, source measurement units and waveform generators, the package — which is available free of charge — promises “unparalleled capabilities” for seamless instrument automation.

Two longtime partners have combined forces to produce a joint networking system-on-chip (SoC) verification solution with a high degree of both flexibility and scalability. Source: Public domain via Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.Two longtime partners have combined forces to produce a joint networking system-on-chip (SoC) verification solution with a high degree of both flexibility and scalability. Source: Public domain via Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons.Test automation normally involves learning and using dated string-based command APIs. These can possess shortcomings such as instrument-specific command sets, guess-and-check syntax checking and low-visibility debugging. The new package changes all that with the power of auto-complete, precise type hinting, comprehensive built-in help, real-time syntax checking and enhanced debugging capabilities.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Simplified automation: A user-friendly Python interface offers a streamlined workflow.
  • Intuitive documentation: Comprehensive docstrings and extensive type hints enable users to learn and effectively use the full capabilities of their instruments.
  • Enhanced productivity: Auto-completion and code suggestions speed up development.
  • Seamless integration: The drivers can be added to existing automation frameworks to further realize each instrument’s full potential.

Why Python? It’s “the largest and fastest growing language of choice among test automation engineers,” according to Rick Kuhlman, the company’s general manager for portfolio software. “We aim to make (engineers) more productive and efficient with Pythonic development tools and code reuse.”

Kuhlman added that the free and open-source nature of the product is meant to encourage collaboration and customization. “Users have the freedom to tailor the software to their specific needs, share improvements with our community and benefit from the collective knowledge and contributions of a global network of developers,” he said.

The package is currently being used internally as an integral part of the Tektronix development pipeline and quality processes. “Tektronix is using the same powerful tools internally to ensure an additional layer of quality and scrutiny is paid to the technology on an ongoing basis,” stated the company in a press release.

“We designed these drivers with simplicity in mind… featuring a quick install with no prerequisites or unnecessary dependencies,” said Kuhlman. “In contrast to competitors who often require users to install and use a maze of additional driver software and interface layers, it’s now extremely easy to get up and running.”

You can learn more — and download the driver package free of charge — at the Python Package Index.



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