LOS ANGELES Internet-based delivery of intellectual property (IP) to support designs received a vote of confidence from both EDA users and vendors in a panel discussion Wednesday (June 7) at the Design Automation Conference (DAC). Panel moderator Gary Smith, EDA analyst with Dataquest Inc., called design collaboration through the Internet a necessity. "What we're seeing now is a demand for collaboration," he said, "because the designs are so big."
Central to the use of the Internet in collaborative design is the difficulty of internally managing the numerous parts of a present day design, said Peter Denyer of Sun Microsystems Inc. "The ability to outsource significant parts of a design is important," he said. "[Users] need services on demand, and ones that are client architecture independent."
This function is not simple, Denyer said, because it often brings competitors into awkward partnering relationships.
John Cornish of ARM Ltd . said current IP distribution methods must be improved. "[ARM] currently delivers IP though an FTP program, which can be considered an A-to-B connection," Cornish said. "We have to go beyond this type of delivery in the future."
Mark Miller of Synchronicity Inc. said the number of designers and tools on a project has increased from one and five respectively in the early 1980s to 50 designers and 50 tools at present. Breaking an IP design process into four parts integration of a RISC core; integration of a DSP core; project-specific design; and the design and integration of an RTOS Miller asked, "How do you organize all of this in time?" He concluded: "It's all about collaboration."
Supporting the panel's consensus that IP is an essential component of chip design, John Chilton of Synopsys Inc. argued that IP will increase from occupying 50 percent of a system-on-chip design today to occupy 95 percent of an SoC design by 2010. But Chilton warned that the IP industry has historically defied easy prediction. " Three years ago, numerous IP companies were mentioned at DAC. And today we're still only talking about four or five companies."
A representative from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. also pushed for better Web-based collaboration in the IP industry. "We like a try-before-buy model," he said. "We can't put a design out until the last core is selected, so it's in our interest to pay attention and evaluate the status of IP."
Mike Maisen and Sean Patrick Dean are with Integrated System Design, a sister publication of EE Times.