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No chip can cross to the next step of physical implementation without sign-off from the verification team. Are you confused with the terminologies: what are IP, sub-system, and SoC verification?  In this article, our focus is to understand the verification domain, exploring its key aspects, and associated job roles.

The front-end verification is mainly categorized into three:

  1. IP verification
  2. Sub-System verification
  3. SoC verification

IP verification

IP or Intellectual Property verification, is a crucial process in the semiconductor and integrated circuit (IC) design industry. It involves the comprehensive verification design blocks or modules that are integrated into a larger chip or system-on-chip (SoC) design. IP blocks can include functions like processor cores, memory units, communication interfaces, or specialized hardware accelerators. The goal of IP verification is to ensure that these pre-designed blocks function correctly, reliably, and efficiently when integrated into a larger system. 

As part of IP verification, engineers perform various verification tasks. First and foremost is functional verification, where engineers rigorously test the IP block to ensure it performs its intended functions correctly under various conditions and scenarios. This often involves the creation of test benches, and checkers, and the development of test cases that challenge the IP block’s functionality. Finally, engineers also conduct corner-case testing and stress testing to uncover and address potential issues. Overall, IP verification is a comprehensive process that ensures the reliability and functionality of individual IP blocks within a larger semiconductor design.

Subsystem verification

It focuses on verifying the correct functionality, integration, and performance of subsystems or modules within a larger electronic system. Subsystems are self-contained units with specific functions, such as a graphics processing unit (GPU), memory controller, or communication interface, and they need to be thoroughly tested and validated to ensure they work as intended when integrated into the overall system. As part of subsystem verification, several critical verification tasks are performed. First and foremost is functional verification, which involves creating comprehensive test benches and test scenarios to validate that the subsystem performs its designated functions accurately. Performance validation assesses the subsystem’s speed, power consumption, and efficiency to meet the system’s performance requirements. Compatibility testing confirms that the subsystem works cohesively with other modules within the system, addressing issues related to data and control flow. Furthermore, corner-case testing explores the subsystem’s behavior in extreme or unusual scenarios, ensuring robustness. 

Integration testing is another essential aspect, ensuring that the subsystem interfaces seamlessly with other subsystems and the overall system.

SoC Verification

SoC (System-on-Chip) verification is a comprehensive process that focuses on ensuring the correct functionality and reliability of an entire integrated system-on-chip, which includes individual subsystems and IP blocks. SoCs are complex and often contain processors, memory, various peripherals, and custom-designed logic. As part of SoC verification, a wide range of verification tasks are undertaken. Test cases to validate that the SoC’s components perform their intended functions correctly under different scenarios and input conditions. Integration testing is crucial to ensure that all subsystems and IPs interoperate without conflicts or data bottlenecks, the impact of changing clocks at various frequencies, and the recovery of a chip after reset injection in the chip. Additionally, power analysis and low-power testing are performed to optimize power consumption. Moreover, SoC verification includes security testing to safeguard against vulnerabilities, ensuring data and IP protection. Overall, SoC verification is a process aimed at guaranteeing the functionality, performance, security, and compliance of complex integrated systems that power a wide range of electronic devices.


In summary, IP verification makes sure to verify unit modules. The sub-system does cluster-level verification for a group of major blocks and how they interact with each other. SoC verification focuses on interface connections, overall SoC functionality, various peripheral connectivity, reset recovery, etc.