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Open-Silicon is a
fabless SoC and ASIC design company that provides a complete "spec to silicon"
development capability. As such, folks at Open-Silicon are well aware of the
challenges posed by SoC design and silicon IP integration - they face those
challenges every day.
In the following video interview Naveed Sherwani,
Open-Silicon CEO, discusses his company's unique business model, talks about
challenges in IP integration and SoC verification, and comments on statements
in the EDA360 vision paper about
the need for tools for integrators and for integration-optimized IP. The
interview was done at the recent Design Automation Conference, where
Open-Silicon, a Cadence customer and partner, was among the presenters at the
If video fails to open, click here.
Not included here are some comments Sherwani made about
addressing derivative SoC designs. He explained that Open-Silicon can take an
existing chip and make modifications, starting with the existing chip and a
change document from the customer. Open-Silicon then does the micro-architecture,
the verification, and sometimes even the software as part of a complete
In the video clip, Sherwani comments that IP must be
verified in the context of the SoC and the applications it will run. I think
this is a very important point. The IP doesn't work until the system works, and
the system doesn't work until the software runs on it as expected.
This concept clearly expands the scope of verification. But
it also opens the door to reduced costs, faster time to market, and better
quality. If you take an application-driven perspective, as proposed by EDA360, there's
no other way to go.
Naveed is on target that IP must be verified in the application that is intended.
Industry certification and plugfest can only do so much and many providers do not provide a complete subsystem (digital/analog/drivers) for this testing. Too often, integrating components purchased from different IP vendors do not work together (and this is just at a subsystem level, let alone at the SoC). Once you integrate the subsystem with the system, additional application testing must prove that the entire SoC works as expected.
The first level verification that should be required for all IP is: does it pass at least pass a certification/plugfest. But passing this does not guarantee anything until the fully integrated design is verified. The last level of verification must be at the integrated, complete design.