SANTA CRUZ, Calif. A group of EDA, silicon intellectual property (IP) and semiconductor vendors will announce the formation of a consortium at the 40th Design Automation Conference next month that will work to facilitate the integration of IP blocks into system-on-chip (SoC) designs, EE Times has learned. The consortium is believed to be working on ways to define "metadata" that goes beyond simple input and output information for IP blocks.
Consortium members include ARM, Beach Solutions, Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics, Royal Philips Electronics, STMicroelectronics, and Synopsys. They will hold a press conference Monday, June 2, at 4:00 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center, site of the Design Automation Conference.
While consortium members declined comment, sources suggested that the consortium will seek to define a standard way to convey important information about IP blocks, such as clocks, signals, and test strategies. Such information, considered important by IP developers and integrators, is sometimes unavailable, and is not presented in any consistent way.
The consortium's work may also allow users to track the IP in their designs, know when and how it was modified, and what tools were used to create or modify it, observers said.
A preview of the consortium's work may have appeared at the Design Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) conference in Munich, Germany this past March, when Beach Solutions Ltd., a provider of tools for IP packaging and integration, announced a collaboration with Cadence Design Systems Inc. to deploy a schema technology based on the XML database format. The schema describes parameters and their associations with common design and verification data required for SoC designs.
At the time, Beach announced that it had developed a schema that allows IP block s to be developed and maintained independently from SoC target implementations. "Beach and Cadence are already working with strategic customers and other parties on an advanced schema definition with a formal release expected in the second half of the year," Beach said in a statement released in March.
Oddly enough, the new consortium is working apart from the Virtual Socket Interface Alliance, an industry group that is working on IP reuse standards and practices. Larry Cooke, vice president of business development for the VSI Alliance, said he thought the consortium would fit well with the "adoption groups" that the alliance is developing.
"I think a consortium like this is indicative that there are problems in this industry that need to be solved," Cooke said. "We're pleased that key members of the industry are stepping up. We have been talking to them."