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Archive for November, 2012

Stale IP – another view

Monday, November 26th, 2012

In my last blog, Harrison Beasley shared his views on stale IP.  This week we hear from Manoj Bhatnagar, Senior Director, Field Delivery and Support at Atrenta.

Liz:  Manoj, what is stale IP?

Manoj:  An IP may become stale because either its specifications have changed (e.g., USB 1.0 vs. 2.0 vs. 3.0) or there is a better implementation available (e.g., a graphics core is now running at 800Mhz instead of 500Mhz). Typically, people will use the latest version, and the older versions are no longer used.  So the stale IPs in this case will die a natural death. What is more challenging, however, is a specific IP developed for a specific project and, over time, no other project used it.  So the IP becomes stale. Most of my answers will apply to this type of stale IP.

Liz:  What’s so bad about it?

Manoj:  The main issue with a stale IP is the fact that nobody really knows the details about it. If I were to use that IP, I would be putting my design at risk because I am now adding some logic to my design for which I don’t have all the information and can’t find anyone who can provide that information either.

Liz:  How do we prevent it from being stale? 

Manoj:  One of the key things that can be done to prevent IP from going stale is to document the IP. I don’t know how many people still remember the TTL datasheets but when you looked at the datasheet, you got complete visibility into what that component did. The same concept can be applied to present day IPs, where you document various characteristics of the IP. For a hard IP, this may be the timing characteristics, physical profile, etc. while for a soft IP this may be timing constraints, clock domain information, testability profile and power profile.


Stale IP – what do we do about it?

Monday, November 12th, 2012


Stale IP is beginning to rear its ugly head.  It’s like having too many books on your bookshelf – always an issue in my house.  Where do you put the new ones?  Which ones do you keep?  What do you do with the ones you don’t want to keep?

I (Liz Massingill) recently polled some experts in the industry to get their stance on stale IP.  Over the next few weeks I’ll share their views with you.

I’ll start with Harrison Beasley, Manager of the Technical Working Groups at Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA).  Here’s what he had to say:


Liz: Stale IP – what is it?

Harrison: IP becomes stale when the underlying code is out of date.  This could be due to changes in a specification, errors found in use, soft IP not being updated, etc.  My assumption is that stale IP will not perform the task for which it was created.

Liz: What’s so bad about it?

Harrison:  Using stale IP could lead to non-functional silicon, tape out delays, end product failures, etc.

Liz: How do we prevent it from being stale?

Harrison: For internal IP, code checks before layout, during timing analysis, during verification, and before final tape-out help ensure the latest IP version is used.  For third party IP, similar rules apply, but the user must coordinate with the IP Supplier to ensure changes are promulgated to the user.


How to get to soft IP quality

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

What is soft IP quality and why should we care?

What are the challenges in managing semiconductor IP?

How can we solve IP reuse integration?

If you’d like to know the answers to these questions and others, check out this presentation by Michael Johnson of Atrenta from the Constellations 2012 conference.

Johnson succinctly defines soft IP quality and proposes a way for the industry to get to a soft IP quality standard.




Note:  Lee PR does work for Atrenta



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