At this point, everyone has reported
on the merger of OSCI and Accellera, two standards groups that operate in the EDA and IP domain. The principle output from OSCI has been the SystemC language and technologies surrounding it, such as the TLM 2.0 transaction level modeling interface. Accellera has been in existence a lot longer and is the home of several languages such as Verilog, SystemVerilog, PSL and some aspects of VHDL. More recently it has become the home for verification methodologies such UVM and, through its merger with the SPIRIT consortium, got into the area of IP description and management. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of having these come together under one roof?
I spoke with Stan Krolikoski, an OSCI board member, treasurer, chair of the IEEE 1666 SystemC working group, secretary for Accellera, and in his spare time works for Cadence. In addition, I chair the Interfaces Technical Committee within Accellera, so I also have an inside view as to what is going on.
A few months ago, I raised an issue within Accellera that it was becoming difficult to coordinate activities within Accellera. My specific issue was that so many committees were working on interfaces and there was little to no coordination going on between them. I blogged
about this in October. To make matters worse was that we were also being asked to consider TLM 2.0 when making updates to the SCE-MI interface – an interface used to create multi-platform verification environments. So, the good news is that all of the interfaces are now under one roof. The bad news is that things just got even more complicated in the standards management business. I talked to Stan about some changes that had already be initiated. Accellera used to have a technical committee chair that reported on the progress of all the individual committees to the board. That position is filled by Karen Pieper of Tabula. In the future, she will be the chair of a committee made up from all of the other chairs from the individual committees that will be responsible for talking about issues that cross the boundaries. Now that will be a huge job and responsibility, and at the moment is scheduled to happen once a month. The first meeting has already occurred.
That took our conversation into another direction and one that many people may not realize. Working in a standards committee is hard work. In many situations it is not considered to be a part of someone’s job function, it is additional work above and beyond the call of duty. That makes it a labor of love, and it does take a whole load of love, dedication, patience and many other attributes. We experience things that are not normal within a single company environment. We have to learn to negotiate, mediate, play politics, to look for compromises and so many other skills. Stan said “The TSC chairs are real leaders and we need to put new opportunities in front of these people. This [merger] isn’t about money or fewer meetings, this just makes so much sense to enable people to do a better job, and make their lives easier.
There are a bunch of issues that have to be resolved in this merger. The way in which IP was licensed was different and has to be unified. Some of the rules will change, such as the ability for non-member companies to participate. This was allowed in Accellera but not in OSCI. Stan said that non-member companies may be excluded at some point in the future but there will be a grace period to enable them to evaluate the benefits of being a full member. This brought up a further question because Karen Pieper, chair of the technical committee, Richard Ho, who chairs the UCIS committee and myself are not members. Stan said that officially he had no comment at this time, but that suitable mechanisms will be defined to make this possible.Brian Bailey
– keeping you covered
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