Silistix is no more in business
David Lautzenheiser, Silistix (03/21/2008 10:20 AM EDT) -- EE Times
Historically, semiconductor devices were developed to perform a single, well-understood function. Those containing a processor were designed to provide the processor with everything needed to perform that single function. We have now moved fully into an era in which chips are complete systems--the era of the system-on-chip. Today, multiple processors or similar complex functional blocks must interact internally and with the real world to provide the system capabilities demanded by the consumer's voracious appetite for electronic products.
We are at a crossroads in the semiconductor industry, where the difficulty in meeting chip design deadlines is not a lack of proper skills or mature EDA tools, but rather a more insidious demon.
The leaders in our industry have perhaps the best talent in the world and the resources to equip them with best-in-class tools. Despite this, designers continue to miss their scheduled design targets, resulting in high development costs and lost profits because they cannot meet ever-shortening consumer market windows. The move from single-function chip design to SoCs requires an altogether new approach that will provide a predictable path from system-level architecture through all the steps of implementation, enabling the development of designs within predictable schedules.
Designing multifunction systems demands an understanding of the interactions of the individual functions and the impact of those interactions on the overall chip requirements. While there are well-proven methods for specifying, designing and testing individual functions, these do not extend to system-level design. The challenge, and the source of unpredictability, is that a multifunction system requires the correct balance among the competing demands of the individual functions. What is lacking in conventional methodologies is a way to express the interactions of these functions and the impact of those interactions on the requisite communications among those functions on the chip. Compounding the competing interactions, communication requirements have exploded with the advent of high-definition video, surround sound audio, broadband data demands and so forth.
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