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EDA needs schemas for IP reuse

Posted: 01 Oct 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ip? design automation? schema? reusability? packaging?

To keep pace with silicon technology and improvements in design methodology, change management has become synonymous with the design automation industry.

Terry McCloskey is CEO at Beach Solutions.
To keep pace with silicon technology and improvements in design methodology, change management has become synonymous with the design automation industry. With the rise of SoC and, now, programmable platform designs, hardware IP is a critical and commonplace part of the design landscape. As a result, the complex issues of reusability and packaging are rapidly forcing their way up the EDA agenda. New tools and methodologies are required to meet the challenges that these developments present.

The good news is that there is a tried-and-tested technology - namely, schemas - that provides an ideal basis for EDA tool vendors and users to deal with these issues. The not-so-good news is that, although extensively used in the development of enterprise computing systems and software, this is not a technology familiar to the EDA industry as a whole. Nevertheless, it is one that must be quickly embraced if the issues raised by IP packaging and reuse are to be addressed in a consistent and standard way that adds value to the design process.

Of course, it could be argued that structure and automation for IP reuse and associated schemas are not absolutely essential in an EDA environment. But the same was once said of verification tools. Ultimately, design tasks can always be performed manually. The question is, how long can companies remain competitive and deliver reliable SoC devices on time using traditional approaches?

Essentially, a schema defines the objects that are to be stored and, more importantly, the interrelationship among these objects. In the world of object-oriented analysis, a schema or database design will start out as a drawing or diagram of boxes and interconnecting lines to illustrate the objects and relationships. In fact, the words "schema" and "database" are often interchangeable.

For EDA purposes, a schema, typically implemented in XML, can be used to describe the structure of design objects and the relationships among them. Used this way, it can deliver three major benefits associated with object-oriented analysis: maintainability, reusability and productivity.

Gradually, the message is spreading. Schema technology will underpin the Spirit Consortium for IP reuse, announced at June's Design Automation Conference. As a founding member of Spirit--along with ARM, Cadence, Mentor, Philips, STMicroelectronics and Synopsys - Beach Solutions' expertise in schema technology will play a pivotal role in helping to meet the consortium's goal of developing industry standards for describing and packaging IP to cut costs, increase ease of use and enable greater flexibility in selecting and integrating IP.

- Terry McCloskey


Beach Solutions

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