In this era of ever shrinking time to market windows, for semiconductor organizations to win the race to market, they must master IP-based design, and in particular IP reuse encompassing both design and verification reuse...
The primary challenge the respondents cited was managing IP data from different systems, both from 3rd
parties as well as various groups within the company. Next was the
inadequate sharing and reuse of testbenches; this point illustrates how
internal IP reuse often focuses on design reuse, while verification
reuse can be neglected.
The third obstacle when
reusing IP, is that IP development and verification development steps
are not always tracked or enforced. A fourth top tier obstacle is that
when bugs are identified, it can be extremely complex to trace both
backwards and forwards to identify all the IP instances across projects,
designs and derivatives.
Next tier challenges cited by respondents included: Managing the data exchange process between the third party IP provider & internal teams; the lack of well-defined corporate policies and designer participation; and IP information or bug roll-up reports were not readily available.
To assess one measurable aspect of the complexities of dependency
management, we asked respondents if they had ever taped out with a
known bug due to dependency management problem. An example of this would
be correcting a bug in one instance of an IP, but missing the same bug in another IP instance. For those engineering, verification, project and CAD managers that knew this answer, 44
percent said yes their organizations had taped out a design with a
known bug. And for those unable to find a workaround, the average delay
was a substantial 6 weeks.
The incentive respondents
cited most often as effective in encouraging and improving IP reuse was
the resource reduction and the shortened time to market. For
those survey participants that had implemented significant IP reuse
dependency management processes and systems, and were able to share their organization’s bottom line results:
First, they achieved an average of a 31% reduction in engineering resources.
Second, they said they achieved an average 30% faster time to market.
These results show the far-reaching project impact and leverage from effective IP reuse dependency management.
The quadrant below illustrates
that without adequate technology infrastructure and processes,
companies face problems with scalability, team cooperation, or both. True leadership in IP reuse is
seen in the top right quadrant, where a company masters both the
process and the infrastructure. Such companies accelerate projects
schedules and maximize their return on assets by enabling design teams
to rapidly select, verify, and integrate the right existing IP for their
design needs, in a continuous process as the IP and the designs each
evolve over time.
is our vision of a robust IP reuse dependency management system vision
which allows all parties – managers, design and verification engineers,
IP owners and project leads - to have near real-time access to the
information they need to do their job.
- Central IP repository - to address the challenges of mixed data sources.
- Design properties encapsulated with the IP - for immediate access by team members.
information encapsulated with the IP - such as IP testbenches and bugs,
to maximize verification reuse and reduce redundancies.
dependency tracing, notifications and fixes - with full bug history and
full design history linked, IP usage identified, and automatically
controlled bug notification and fixes to users across all IP instances
- Design and verification checklist - for gauging progress during the IP's continuous development and verification process.
- Roll-up reporting - on both IP usage and bugs, for status and what if analysis by management at the project and IP levels.
IP reuse system such as the one described above, with methodology that
is easy to support, combined with appropriate top-down direction and
bottom up incentives, will both enable and motivate team members to
participate. Further, well-executed programs are self-reinforcing; team
members more readily participate in the next design after directly
experiencing the efficiency and time to market advantages from a
successful first effort.
About the author
Dean Drako, President and CEO, IC Manage, Inc.
founded IC Manage in 2003, a company that he has helped expand to
become the IC/SoC design and IP management technology leader. Dean was
also founder, President and CEO of Barracuda Networks from 2003 to 2012,
where he built and expanded Barracuda from a spam and virus firewall
provider to a broad line enterprise technology company with more than
150,000 customers. Dean currently serves on Barracuda's Board of
Dean was also the founder of Boldfish, a leading
provider of enterprise messaging solutions that was acquired by Siebel
Systems in 2003. Before Boldfish, Dean was founder, president and CEO of
Design Acceleration Inc. (DAI), maker of superior design analysis and
verification tools, which was acquired by Cadence Design Systems. Dean
has served as an entrepreneur in residence for SoftBank Venture Capital
as well as vice president of product engineering at the 3DO Company.
Dean holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor and M.S. in electrical engineering from the
University of California, Berkeley. In 2007, Dean was named "Technology
Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California" by Ernst & Young.
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