A collaborative effort between researchers at Stanford University and the University of Bologna is producing a new Java-based tool that promises to allow users on the web to more easily query IP repositories and commercial databases to find the core best suited for a given design project.
Luca Benini of the University of Bologna, presented a paper he co-authored with Stanford Univerity's Ting Zhand and Giovanni De Micheli at DATE.
The new JavaCAD tool is still a work in progress but promises to allow users to search IP databases using extensible markup language (XML)
"The tool was implemented in Java and features a secure client-server architecture that provides estimation, and IP evaluation and verification via the Internet without revealing IP details before an actual sale has taken place," said Banini.
The tool itself encourages core vendors to package their cores and users to query databases using the extensible markup language (XML).
Benini explained that IP vendors enter attributes of their core in XML or in precompiled Java objects loaded from files. The tool parses IP queries into a document object model (DOM) that it then transforms it to an internal tree-structured model. The tree model has several "branches" that describe particular attributes of a core.
The tool's "match engine" incorporates a "fuzzy" search capability that allows users unsure of what they want to specify selection criteria that are partially defined.
"The tool is used in an iterative process," said Benini. Users can query the engine to find IP that loosely fits a given projects' functionality requirements. Users can search for criteria such as power, throughput and area among others.
As the design becomes more rigidly defined, the users can then do more precise queries and set several specific criteria to find the best cores for their designs. The match engine ranks cores based on how many user defined criteria match the attributes in the tree model.
Once the user picks a core, the tool ships the core from the server to the user and the core model is instantiated.
Benini said the researchers built their own XML repository containing 1000 cores to test out the system, but hopes are that the tool could be linked in the future to commercial IP exchanges, such as Design & Reuse and VCX. He said the researchers also want to extend the matching engine's capabilities, adding more detailed functionality.
Benini said however there is currently no plan to commercialise the technology, especially as it is still a project under development.