IP integration is increasingly seen as a key challenge in SoC development. Many factors combine to compound the problem of IP integration. Increased system complexity, IP reuse, IP configurability and tightly-bound schedules have all combined to break traditional flows and methodologies. The EDA industry has identified IP integration as one of the next big challenges and has responded by envisioning a plug-and-play type of standardized IP that can be treated like Lego blocks when it comes to IP integration.
A solution for this Lego concept that has been emerging for several years is the use of IP metadata to describe, standardize and formalize IP interfaces to enable more efficient IP integration flows. The primary solution put forward by the industry is IP-XACT (IEEE-1685), a standard that includes a schema definition for IP metadata. While the usage of IP-XACT has been growing, the lack of a standard integration methodology has severely limited vendors’ ability to provide the fully interoperable IP metadata necessary to enable rapid and reusable IP integration flows.
This paper presents a standards-based IP integration methodology that aims to solve these challenges. The solution presented combines the standardization of IP interfaces with a corresponding rules-based integration methodology that leverages these interfaces to provide rapid and high-quality IP integration. The capabilities, benefits and limitations of using IP-XACT to standardize configurable IP are explored, as well as how the industry is really using the IP-XACT standard. This includes an overview of the work being done by the Accellera Systems Initiative to help with IP interoperability using standardized bus definitions.
This paper, written by davidmurray and simonrance, also includes a case study on the integration of a complex ARM IP-based system, detailing the rules-based approach taken to integrating the system. Metrics are presented that show an 8-fold schedule improvement on a first-time project and a potential 20-fold improvement over traditional methods by adopting the rules-based approach. This methodology also results in benefits such as higher quality connectivity and highly reusable design integration intent. This paper concludes with a list of recommendations for implementing a highly efficient IP integration flow.
As a further update, on June 3rd ARM officially launched a new IP Tooling suite. You can find out how it works in my latest blog System Assembly through Intelligent Configuration