I received a plethora of e-mails regarding my recent article, entitled "Opinion: Semi IP sector is a lost cause"
Then, I asked for the IP vendors themselves to respond to a set of questions. Here's one letter to the editor:
Regarding your article on 8/10/07 item #4, you state "For years, quality and lack of manufacturability has dogged IP. My perception: IP is a nightmare in the real world. Has this changed or not? My guess: No. With the demise of the VSI Alliance (VSIA), IP quality will remain unchecked."
With all due respect, this is untrue.
FSA has been working for the past three years on a Hard IP Quality Effort that has expanded to become an all-encompassing effort entitled the FSA IPecosystem (IPe) Tool Suite. FSA is creating a Tool Suite to enable more efficient communication between IP vendors, IP integrators/enablers and foundries for IP interaction, an area critical for design success.
It involves the development and deployment of useful applications to the industry, aiding in the communication of key business and technical information between parts of the supply chain. Success criteria includes bringing engagements down from months to days and improving the confidence level (i.e., lowering the risk) in business decisions made around IP.
The IPe Risk Assessment Tools within the Suite will include:
*Hard IP Quality -- Now Available for download here. This tool features a set of questions that every integrator needs to ask to understand what the IP includes and evaluate its risk assessment prior to determining which IP to purchase based on a chosen risk profile. Version 3.0 will be released September 11 with significant enhancements and increased simplicity.
*Licensing -- Features a set of questions that every integrator asks to understand the IP to enter into a licensing transaction. Licensing will be included in version 4.0 planned for delivery in October/November 2008.
These first two tools focus on selecting an IP vendor based on evaluating the risk involved with various IP offered and then moving to the licensing process to acquire the desired IP.
The following two tools focus on identifying the risks involved with producing a design with the acquired IP with various foundries. These two efforts will initiate on Sept 12 at FSA's Supplier's Expo at the IP Subcommittee meeting at Santa Clara Convention Center at 12:30.
Everyone is welcome to participate on the following subjects:
*Technology: The event will feature a set of questions that focus on PDKs, Models, Lithography and OPC issues, etc. to determine the technological enablement and readiness of the IP under evaluation.
*Manufacturing -- Will feature a set of questions that identifies the risk profile to ensure the chip design with the IP will manufacture at yield in a timely manner at the lowest possible cost.
[Meanwhile, FSA's] tool suite is not a standard. It enables companies to take advantage of the efficiencies and time advantages and enhance their current IP quality evaluation programs without changing their internal procedures to comply with a standard. All of these tools are developed with encrypted programming and password-protected communication between the integrator and the vendors and they assume the communication is taking place under NDA. FSA does not collect or involve itself in the data interactions.
These tools are free to the industry. FSA's goal is to provide a communication tool suite that increases the efficiencies in the interactions, identify risks involved, and allow companies to make their IP, design and manufacturing decisions with a greater knowledge and awareness of the risk involved.
I welcome the opportunity to visit with you and tell you more, demonstrate the tool and schedule interviews with companies who have supported this initiative.
VP of Global Research
972-866-7579 ext 116