January 12, 2004
Si2 and OCP-IP
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Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor


by Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor
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The following exchange took place during a conference call on December 8th. Participants included Ian Mackintosh, President of OCP-IP (speaking from San Jose, California) and Steve Schulz, President and CEO of Si2 (speaking from Austin, Texas). The point of the conversation - facilitated by Joe Basquez of Vitalcom PR - was to help clarify the distinctions between the two organizations.


Q: Which came first - Si2 (Silicon Integration Initiative) or OCP-IP (Open Core Protocol International Partnership)?


Ian: Si2 has been around for a long time. OCP-IP is just celebrating our 2-year anniversary.


Steve: Si2 has been around as an organization for 15 years now. It was formed by the large IDM semiconductor companies who were driving for interoperability for the design tools. CFI, the CAD Framework Initiative, was the ancestor of Si2. Then about 7 or 8 years ago, the organization, with the Board and its membership, refocused - not to change their mission, but to change how to achieve their mission. The organization was renamed at that time.


Q: Where are the offices located geographically?


Ian: We're legally incorporated in Mountain View, California. But our operations offices are in Portland, Oregon. Actually, we're a true virtual organization. You may be aware of the infrastructure - we're a trade organization, not a standards body, and all of our work is contracted out to volunteers.


Steve: Si2 is in extreme contrast to the OCP-IP structure. Our offices are in Austin, Texas, where we have a physical plant, equipment, labs, permanent employees, and a dedicated staff. We leverage our expertise by way of our members, who donate resources to our projects to achieve our goals. We actually provide a fair amount of infrastructure. We were chartered with the National Cooperative Research Act and we provide legal protection for the companies that come together through Si2. We provide legal, financial, marcom, PR, and marketing services, as well as education, and training. And of course, we have the OpenEDA website.


Ian: Everything that Steve says Si2 provides - education, marketing, training, legal and financial services - OCP-IP provides as well, but it's contracted out to volunteers.


Q: Are both of you full-time employees of Si2 and OCP-IP, respectively?


Ian: I'm not an employee; we don't have employees. My day job is actually as a Vice President for Strategic Planning at Sonics. It's easy for me to balance both [with a chuckle], 90% of my time is spent on OCP-IP, as a Board Member at VSIA, and as a chair of the IP Protection Working Group.


Steve: I'm a full-time employee of Si2.


Q: What is the charter of each body in 25 words or less?


Ian: OCP-IP supports and enhances the market for the sockets for block-based SoC design.


Steve: Si2 is about providing the infrastructure to enable the integration and interoperability of the IC design flow.


Q: Give me a quick way to remember what's distinctive about OCP-IP versus Si2.


Ian: The name Open Core Protocol was a proprietary standard such as USB and InfiniBand, which became the basis for the organization as parts of the protocol were donated. Originally it was called OCP, but the IP [that's now in the name] stands for International Partnership.


Steve: It's about integration and interoperability - the Si2 charter summarizes it. We've got a number of projects, which are focused on infrastructure. Think of the kind of standardization that OCP-IP is focusing on as the design content. Si2 provides the infrastructure and flow that allows the content to flow through it.


Q: Who are the main constituents of the two organizations?


Steve: For Si2, it's the large semiconductor companies, the traditional IDMs, and the large EDA companies, that have been our traditional focus. As we expand with newer projects, we're expanding down the flow into mask makers and equipment makers. This week, in fact, we're formally kicking off a new coalition. I'll actually know in about 45 minutes who's in and who's out. It obviously takes patience and time to develop new relationships, and we feel confident that we're addressing the areas of high interest to our constituents.


Ian: OCP-IP is really comprised of users and developers of IP and EDA providers, as well as most of the SoC design market. We're really appealing to the SoC design market. There are lots of people today working on the flow, and we're focusing on a limited number of those people.


Q: What does it cost a company to become a member, remain a member?


Steve: Si2 has a multi-tiered revenue structure. Si2 membership can cost anything from $1,500 to $20,000. Membership in any particular project is above and beyond that. An OpenAccess director-level membership is $60,000, while it's $5,000 for a lower-level membership. We also offer academic memberships for $250 a year, as well as special pricing for independent consultants.


Ian: It's $10,000 for a basic community membership in OCP-IP, and $25,000 to participate in a Working Group. Then there's a $1,000 membership for universities and small companies with less than $7 million in revenue.


Q: How do you let members know about developments? Do you publish a newsletter, or send e-mail, or provide regular updates to you websites?


Ian: Yes, OCP-IPO provides all of that, plus we offer conference attendance, paper submissions, trade shows, press releases, and our website is very active. The average user time spent on our site is over 60 minutes per visit. And, we have several thousand visitors per month.


Steve: We have 2 websites - the Si2 site, plus a separate website and community portal for access to documentation at
www.OpenEDA.org. And, we also offer everything that Ian mentioned, plus we host our own seminars, workshops, conferences, with one that's of particular importance - the OpenAccess Developer's Forum. We're about to do our 4th annual OpenAccess Conference. At this point, we know that the downloading of the OpenAccess code has been done by 800 different organizations, and an excess of 3,000 individuals.


Q: Why are VSIA and Accellera more like 'household' names, while OCP-IP and Si2 seem to be somewhat less well known?


Ian: Well, we're actually very young, but frankly we're also pretty prominent. We've become more visible at conferences and we've been taking a more prominent role in industry events. We've also initiated on-line webcasts. In fact, about a year ago, people stopped asking who we are and started asking instead if they could have our materials.


Steve: I actually used to be on the Board of Accellera. Their conversations tend to be about language, and the controversy and discussions about that. [Meanwhile], there's a high barrier to entry to Si2 and people must make a large commitment to join. Right now, we have 35 companies - they all know what they're doing and what they're getting out of membership in Si2. We run the organization like a business, with a business plan and deliverables. It's an under-the-radar approach at times because we don't have the controversy, but our members are a very stable group who know what they want. We're not a paper specification factory. Instead, we've got a complicated architecture with
millions of lines of code. So, ours is a fairly complicated environment with less surface-level controversy.


Q: Is there a competition between the various organizations for volunteers and man hours?


Ian: Because of the other groups I'm involved in, I know that some companies won't participate in more than a finite number of things. But everything that we work on in OCP-IP is extremely germane to the needs of the membership. Our members put in the time because they want the results. Although, we do sometimes see a lack of participation because of limited bandwidth from our members.


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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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