John Wilson, EE Times(06/26/2006 9:00 AM EDT)
As system-on-chip complexity grows, designers are turning to electronic system-level (ESL) methodologies to create next-generation designs.
Designers might hesitate to use ESL because of legacy RTL intellectual-property libraries that represent thousands of man-years of invested time. But legacy RTL IP can be the basis for new designs that leverage ESL methodologies.
Designers who have tried ESL design recognize that some parts of a design are more conducive to ESL while others are more efficiently implemented using established IP libraries. Typically, ESL is used to create new, differentiated system components; RTL IP is best for the obligatory nondifferentiated parts of the design.
Where do these two methodologies come together? Actually, they are different aspects of a holistic electronic-system design methodology.
ESL does not replace RTL design. Instead, the ESL design flow extends RTL flows into higher levels of abstraction, much as RTL design extends gate-level design.
Platform-based design lets designers automatically integrate ESL modules with existing RTL IP. Platform-based design is made more effective when it uses Spirit XML data books from the Spirit Consortium to describe the IP. These data books include configuration and validation information to help determine the processes that must be executed to integrate the block into a system-on-chip design.
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