Bernard Murphy, Atrenta Inc.
9/26/2011 4:24 PM EDT
Not everyone likes surprises.
If you are a chip designer working with third-party IP, you have learned that surprises, not always of the good kind, are an inevitable part of the package. And you are not alone – the use and cost associated with third-party IP are on the rise.
So what can you do about it? Do you already have, or plan to have a systematic approach to inspect IP quality on delivery?
Clearly defining what you mean by “quality” can help both you and your supplier converge more quickly on a better flow. Furthermore, your definition of quality probably needs to expand beyond a bug-centric view. A robust process that can automatically assess quality at incoming inspection can have a large impact on your schedule and overall well-being. Instituting such a system may not prevent issues, but it will ensure that issues are trapped quickly, at the source, before they trigger fire-drills later in the design process.
If you are an IP supplier, I’m sure you are already familiar with the concept of “smoke tests” as a quick way to flush out problems in the inner loop of development. This kind of analysis can be used not only to validate correctness but also to give a quick, albeit coarse, assessment of design parameters, as I will explain below. When you are in what-if exploration, this can help you explore more options, more quickly than full implementation analyses would allow.
Click here to read more ...