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Posted: 07:17:10 PM, 14/06/2012

Proposal to create an automated IP marketplace

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Naveed Sherwani, president and CEO of manufacturing services provider Open-Silicon Inc., has a vision. Last week at the Design Automation Conference, he said that he supports the creation of an automated intellectual property marketplace where IP could be evaluated and procured at pre-negotiated prices.

Sherwani suggested that Open-Silicon was prepared to be a facilitator of such an initiative and that the company would be making a related announcement soon.

Under Sherwani's proposal, the IP marketplace would include all relevant information and up-to-date datasheets for IP blocks and subsystems to enable designers to select and purchase IP for an SoC in real time over the course of one meeting. Today, he said, this process is done over dozens of meetings over the course of weeks or months.

It's easy to see why Sherwani would value such an IP marketplace. He said his firm recently worked on a design that featured more than 100 IP blocks from 16 different vendors. No doubt this required countless hours in implementing the IP.

Anyone can understand the seductive nature of this proposal. Such a system could conceivably significantly reduce the cost and time required to design an SoC. But can evaluating and selecting IP really be made as simple as buying a sweater? Given the issues that designers continue to have with integrating blocks of IP from different vendors, can the foundation of a chip ever really be cobbled together with a few mouse clicks?

Sherwani acknowledges that there are a host of challenges to setting up a truly valuable IP marketplace like the one he envisions. But he says the challenges can be overcome over two to three years. He also says it's important to start on such a project, even if it initially includes only a fraction of the IP available on the market.

It's a fascinating proposal. Theoretically, it's a no-brainer. But in practice, it may simply not be feasible. Everyone is searching for answers to reduce complexity and cost in an era where SoC designs have become massive. There is always a temptation to look for magic shortcuts. SoC design is hard and complex work that must be done by teams of smart people rolling up their sleeves and getting down to work. And the reality may be that there's not much that can be done to change that.

Sherwani's dream is likely to be greeted by a great deal of skepticism by many in the industry. Certainly, it won't be an easy thing to implement. But is there a chance of creating a marketplace to match Sherwani's vision? If so, it could represent a whole new world of chip design where more SoCs can be created faster and less expensively.


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Visitor 11:23:17 PM, 30/03/2013
Comment: I wonder if thesee can be controled via regular arduino , I almost succeeded to Interface it with Arduino Mega 2560 (Atmega8 onboard removed) using CS , WR and DATA pins of HT1632CThe problem is that regular HT1632.h library from arduino playground address it wrong > X,Y inverted and mirrored font. Can I use Your lib with arduino ?? Do You have some sketch examples ?
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