SAN MATEO, Calif. The Virtual Socket Interface Alliance (VSIA) announced two new taxonomy documents on Monday (Nov. 10): one each from its Hardware-Dependent Software working and Platform-Based Design working groups.
VSIA) has arguably been most influential through its taxonomy efforts. One of the first tasks of each VSIA working group is to create a taxonomy document: a set of precise definitions spanning the range of concepts engineers must discuss in collaborating on a particular technical problem. The documents represent the joint efforts of a large number of member representatives, often opinion leaders in their fields, to find a common set of words and unambiguoius meanings.
While the organization has not attempted to impose its standards, its taxonomy documents in such areas as bus interfaces and signal integrity have been influential in establishing a common vocabulary through which engineers from different backgrounds can communi cate.
Perhaps the more ambitious of the two documents is the hardware-dependent software blueprint. Development of hardware-dependent software the layer of code that talks directly to hardware registers, depends on hardware functional details or is sensitive to hardware timing requires intimate cooperation between hardware engineers and software developers. This first step in creating a common vocabulary between the two groups is crucial, and could generate huge benefits to design teams.
The problem as been different for the Platform-Based Design group. Platform designers have similar technical backgrounds, but the lack of common vocabulary has created enormous divergence in definitions. Platform-based design has become a hundred disciplines divided by a common set of words.
By establishing precise meanings for such terms as "platform," for example, the taxonomy promises to head off potential misunderstandings. Further, the document groups platform-based approaches into three broad categories: bottom-up, middle-out and top-down. It also defines specific characteristics for each.
Both taxonomy documents are available now to VSIA members. Both will be released for sale to nonmembers in approximately six months. They can then be purchased from VSIA's Web site for $950 for Hardware-Dependent Software and $750 for Platform-Based Design.