SANTA CRUZ, Calif. Making a move for widespread industry adoption, the Spirit intellectual property (IP) reuse specification has been submitted to the IEEE for standardization by the newly-formed IEEE P1685 working group. Spirit is contributing the current version of its chip metadata specification, version 1.2, also known as the IP-XACT design exchange format.
Spirit, which stands for "Structure for packaging, integrating and re-using IP within tool flows," was launched by several founding companies at the Design Automation Conference in 2003. Spirit's goal is to develop a common specification mechanism for describing IP integration data, and to allow automatic IP configuration and integration using compatible tools.
The Spirit Consortium has grown to include 54 members, and its 1.2 specification was released in May 2006. Steering committee members are ARM, Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics, Philips Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, Synopsys, and LSI Logic. While most of the steering committee members are making use of the Spirit specification, backers believe IEEE standardization will pave the way to wider industry adoption.
"The Spirit Consortium may be well known, but IEEE is IEEE," said Ralph von Vignau, Spirit Consortium chair and senior director of infrastructure and standards at Philips Semiconductors. "An IEEE standard leads to a broader deployment and ensures a high industry acceptance. It also means the industry as a whole has the possibility to provide feedback on the proposal."
The IP-XACT specification describes an XML metadata schema for describing silicon IP, and an API to provide tool access to the schema. The schema provides a standard way to make IP compatible with automated integration techniques. Tools that implement the standard will be able to automatically interpret, configure, integrate, and manipulate IP blocks delivered with metadata that conforms to the standard.
The current Spirit specification covers RTL design and verification. A set of ESL extensions is under development today, and will be delivered to the IEEE late in 2006.
Further information about the new IEEE P1685 standards effort is provided in an
article in the print edition of this week's EE Times.