US-based intellectual property company Sonics has set up a group to try to get its open core protocol (OCP) interface accepted as a standard for on-chip interconnect in place of ARM Holdings' Amba hardware bus (AHB), which analysts see as the current de facto standard.
The company has signed up MIPS Technologies, Nokia, Texas Instruments (TI) and UMC as founding steering committee members. Nokia and TI have made extensive use of AHB with ARM cores in their system-on-chip (SoC) designs so far.
Ian Mackintosh, president of the OCP International Partnership (OCP-IP), says the 'socket' interface developed by Sonics is needed for the next generation of multiprocessor SoCs.
"You need a socket to do complex SoC designs," he said. "Amba is a bus interface and is not the right thing at all for complex, multiprocessor designs. Sockets work at a higher level, so that you can target [intellectual property] into anything."
Mackint osh claims OCP can go further than the virtual component interconnect (VCI). VCI was devised by the Virtual Sockets Interface Alliance and has been adopted by several hardware core developers, such as ARC International.
"OCP is a superset of the VCI standards," he said. "It is very similar to VCI. There is a master set of functions that you select from. But the bottom line is that VSIA is not chartered to do in-depth support for its standards."
OCP-IP will provide copies of the specification free for research purposes through its website [www.ocpip.org], but will charge a licence fee for commercial implementations. In contrast, ARM made it possible to use AHB for free.