By Kathryn Kranen, Jasper Design Automation Inc.
EETimes.com (April 23, 2010)
Some amazing statistics: Third-party semiconductor IP is now a $1 billion per year business, with thousands of suppliers. One-third of all logic in a design is now reused legacy IP, and that figure will grow to 50 percent by 2015.
The reasoning behind this is simple: More integration of IP into new designs increases productivity accordingly, or does it?
We hear a lot about "leveraging" IP to address new applications, speed production, and tailor products to meet customers' needs. In a perfect world this makes sense, but when IP originally created for other purposes is integrated into a new design there are numerous factors to consider.
Most importantly, adding existing IP means modifying your RTL, a high-cost/high-risk proposition. Ron Collett, President and CEO of Numetrics which provides software and services to manage IC development risks, recently wrote that "making 30 percent of your design from reused IP blocks doesn't mean you're going to be 30 percent more productive at the end of the project. That's because IC design teams tend to underestimate the work needed to implement the reused IP," a dilemma illustrated in the following chart:
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