The SoC industry depends upon the availability of validated IP. SoC designs require a huge investment, and assume the external IP that is licensed from outside parties satisfies all functional and electrical specifications. To support that requirement, IP providers typically pursue a strategy to demonstrate their designs are silicon-proven -- their IP is submitted as part of a pre-production shuttle tapeout to a specific foundry process node. The die from the shuttle wafer lots are returned, packaged, and the silicon IP is characterized. Yet, the question remains -- is the IP truly suitable for use across a broad set of customer SoC applications and product environments?
I recently had the opportunity to review this question with Abhijit Abhyankar, Vice President of Silicon Engineering at Flex Logix, Inc., providers of embedded FGPA (eFPGA) IP. For silicon validation, they have the added complexity that the end functional application is not fixed, but rather defined in the field.
We talked about some of the deficiencies commonly present in current silicon-proven IP methodologies.
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