Semiconductor IP News and Trends Blog
Front-end Tools Bolster IP Design Chain
Today’s announcement of Carbon’s IP Exchange portal provides evidence of the growing importance of the semiconductor IP design-manufacturing chain.
The third-party IP development chain gains additional support with today’s introduction of Carbon’s IP Exchange portal. According to Bill Neifert, Carbon’s CTO, “the portal is focused on the front-end of the design process to enable virtual platform creation and execution.”
Neifert describes the process as straightforward: A designer logs into the portal, chooses the IP of interest, and configures the block with vendor-supported parameters. IP Exchange then automatically compiles a virtual model for that IP block and makes it available for download. The model is retained on site for use by other team members or for later reconfiguration.
A few months back, Synopsys introduced “TLMCentral”—another tool to aid in front-end IP design activities. Rather than containing any information on IP blocks, the site provided transaction-level representations of IP—a valuable resource to SystemC users. According to Tom De Schutter, senior product marketing manager at Synopsys, “TLMCentral focuses solely on transaction-level modeling and virtual-prototyping methodologies.”
Both of these front-end tools—Carbon’s IP Exchange and Synopsys’ TLMCentral—should be complementary with Cadence’s Chipestimate.com (CE) site. Using designer-selected IP, CE’s estimation tools provide tradeoff analysis for a variety of back-end effects like power consumption, die size, and even cost. But the CE tools also are used early in the design process, where system-wide architectural power and performance tradeoffs are examined.
All of these IP portals strengthen the ability of System-on-Chip (SoC) designers to develop and integrate third-party blocks into ever complex designs. The recent introductions of front-end specific IP tools are complementary to existing architectural and back-end offerings. Together, these tool suites re-enforce the growing importance of a healthy IP ecosystem in the design of today’s semiconductor chips.