(12/08/2004 12:14 PM EST)
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. Taking the first step towards a set of standards aimed at easing silicon intellectual property (IP) integration, the multivendor Spirit consortium released Spirit version 1.0 Wednesday (Dec. 8). The specification provides a standard XML data format for IP integration data.
Launched at the Design Automation Conference in 2003, Spirit stands for "Structure for Packaging, Integrating and Re-using IP within Tool flows." Founding members are Beach Solutions, Philips Semiconductors, ST Microelectronics, ARM, Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys. The group now claims over 30 members.
In a related move, Beach Solutions announced that it will give away its Spirit compliance IP evaluation tool to IP vendors listing their IP on Beach's newly acquired VCX Web-based IP catalog.
The consortium's goal is a standard mechanism for describing IP, such that IP integration can be automated through the use of Spirit-complaint EDA tools. The consortium will be addressing this with standards in two areas: an IP meta-data description standard, and an IP tool plug-in API.
At this year's Design Automation Conference, consortium members offered a first look at Spirit version 1.0, then in the proposal stage. Between then and now, according to the consortium, the specification has been tested by members on real IP and EDA tools.
The Spirit 1.0 specification lets IP providers create a "databook" in XML, documenting features, data files, and configurability options for IP. Mentor Graphics Corp. announced Wednesday that its Platform Express product will accept Spirit 1.0 data.
While Spirit 1.0 addresses RTL design, work is already underway to draft version 2.0 of the standard, which will extend the specification to support electronic system level (ESL) design and verification. The Spirit 1.0 standard and supporting deliverables are available at the Spirit consortium Web site.
ARM Ltd.'s Chris Lennard, who headed the technical development of the standard, said the final version of Spirit 1.0 provides a standard way of describing IP meta data and a standard packaging of the data in XML format so that it can be read by third-party tool vendors offering Spirit-compliant tools.
The ultimate goal is for Spirit to allow IP providers to ship IP with a machine-readable data book that allows a given piece of IP to be automatically configured and integrated into designs.
Philips Semiconductor's Ralph von Vignau said the Spirit Consortium ultimately would like to see the standard turned over to the IEEE or some other larger standards body for ratification.
Meanwhile, the Beach Solutions tool giveaway is designed to draw more IP vendors to its VCX IP catalog. The company claims to have 50 Spirit 1.0-compliant generators already in use. It is giving away to any IP company joining VCX its EASI IP Developer package, which evaluates Spirit XML IP for compliance with the 1.0 spec.