Presumably TSMC had problems that people were using IP that they
had endorsed and then when problems were found it was difficult to know
who to turn to.
Manoj: It was a little bit different
from that. TSMC has the program called TSMC 9000. There is a lot of hard
IP already in there. It was fairly easy to look through the catalog,
find what you wanted and then contact the IP vendor for it. But most
customers will want soft IP and TSMC wanted to make sure that the IP met
a certain level of quality.
Now the rules cannot find all
problems and problems with the IP may still be found and the IP supplier
is still responsible for their IP. The problem is that with any IP
there is “as delivered” versus “as used”. It is possible that my IP may
be useable in ten or fifteen different ways and it is possible that it
has been verified in two of those ways. If the customer uses it in a
new, but legal way, then the two companies will work together to resolve
TSMC acts as a marketing partner for qualified IP
and the customer get some assurances that the level of quality has met a
minimum level in certain aspects.
TSMC continues to manage the program. Can accept or reject any IP supplier even if they pass all Spyglass rules?
As part of the testing for the initial version and the new version,
TSMC asked a number of IP suppliers to go through the process and the
three companies revue the errors that come up. Typically the IP supplier
will go and fix the errors and IP reevaluation happens.
Can an IP provider ask for a waiver on anything that does not pass?
They can ask for a waiver but it is up to TSMC if they accept it. There
are cases where this happens. An example might be the rules that checks
for hanging inputs. In a case where inputs are parameterized there may
be some inputs that are left hanging in a specific configuration. TSMC
may say – yes, we understand what is going on and we will let it go.
Another example may be companies that have bus/interconnect fabrics.
Much of the configuration stuff doesn’t apply to them, such as power
estimation. I can’t estimate power for a NoC so it would be a rule that
is exempt for that class of IP.
You say that there are 15 companies qualified on this new version. How many were on the previous version.
There were 10 IP providers qualified on version 1.0. Currently, over 15
soft IP suppliers have been qualified through the new program. IP Kit
2.0 represents an enhanced set of checks that adds physical
implementation data (e.g., area, timing and congestion) and advanced
formal lint checks (e.g., X-assignment, dead code detection). IP Kit 2.0
also allows easier integration into the end user’s design flow and
enhanced IP packaging options. ARM is also signed up for the program
What makes this 2.0?
Manoj: The biggest
change is in what we are checking. We can look at the RTL and for
example, predict where your physical congestion issues may be. We can
also look at FSMs and identify deadlocks, unreachable states etc.
Manoj Bhatnagar has been working in EDA product development and field operations roles for over 20 years.
to Atrenta, he held multiple leadership roles at Cadence Design
Systems, including product quality & validation, applications
engineering and consulting services development & delivery. At
Atrenta, Manoj has led corporate applications engineering, product
quality & customer satisfaction and most recently field delivery
& support. He received his BE/EE from Thapar Institute of
Engineering and Technology in Punjab, India and his MS/EE from the New
Jersey Institute of Technology.
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