Standards - IP Arena

(Laugh) Chief cook and bottle washer. Actually, I see the role of president as touting and sharing the vision of VSIA in the space we are working in, trying to drive the organization as a whole to come up with solutions that are needed in the marketplace. There are common issues that companies are seeing. Where I see a real role for VSIA is coming together for some of these non-differentiated solutions, pooling resources and coming up with a standard that everybody can adhere to and follow. It makes so much sense. A lot of people have internal reuse standards. That's fine and there are definite good business reasons to have very specific things for internal methodologies and procedures. But there is definitely a base line that could be and should be common across the industry. It makes it much easier for vendors to support their customers and for customers to understand what they are getting.

In addition to being president of VSIA you are a full time employee of Freescale.
Yes. I am manger of IP Business and Strategies. It's an umbrella organization within Freescale. We work with all of the business groups for IP roadmaps, IP make-buy decisions, IP procurement and internal standards. It's closely related to what I do at VSIA.

Is your involvement with VSIA personal or actively support by Freescale?
It's both really. Even before I joined them Freescale had been very active in VSIA. Freescale has its own internal semiconductor reuse standard. They donated portions of that several years ago. Not only myself but several other people in Freescale are very active. This is not public knowledge but there is going to be another donation from Freescale to VSIA which will be available to the industry.

Are the people in the various working groups actively supported by their employers? Is this a requirement for VSIA membership?
For the participation to really work, it has to be something that the people are really interested in. You can't force somebody to come up with something for the good of the industry because they are being told to. It is something they have got to believe in. With the way companies are utilizing resources nowadays, everybody is overworked at this point. You definitely need company support behind you to allow you to take the time to do it. It's a little bit of personal interest and company support.

Some organizations have different types of membership in terms of fees and resource commitments. Is this true of VSIA?
Not really. We have different tiers of memberships. They have different financial obligations. We do not require minimum participation in the working groups, although it works out that way. People who are really involved and interested make it a point of trying to contribute. We do not try to put restrictions on members that other organizations do, is the main point. We definitely have committed people in VSIA and then there are some who for whatever reason can't commit the time to it. They communicate via email and attend meetings whenever they can.

Would you describe VSIA as a national or international organization?
It's definitely international. There is a lot of interest from Asia; Hong Kong, China and Japan. We have a lot of participants from Europe. It makes it real interesting sometimes when you get on conference calls.

A couple of years ago there was a restructuring of VSIA. Any comments?
That was under the previous president.
Hillary: Basically VSIA had 12 or 13 working groups. The previous president decided to reorganize and focus on 3 or 4 topics of interest to the members and dedicate the resources accordingly. We were spread too thin and wanted to make sure that we gave value back to members on what they though was valuable by focusing on IP protection, quality and transfer.

How would you describe VSIA?
VSIA is kind of an umbrella organization established in 1996. It crosses the IP ecosystem. We are looking from IP development, how it is handed off and evaluated through the integration process. We are really trying to enable the efficiency of the IP ecosystem.

The big thing is to contribute to areas that cause pain to everyone in the industry and try to drive the industry to a common solution. It is really sharing the cost of coming up with that solution that our members are finding a lot of value in.

VSIA is not as nichey as other organizations. That is a perfectly valid business model and definitely needed. But what we are trying to do is take a high level view of how the IP works throughout the entire space and to interact and closely collaborate with these other organizations. Make sure we are not duplicating effort and resources.

The board right now has 8 sitting members (ARM, Cadence, Freescale, HP, IBM, LSI Logic, Mentor Graphics, and TSMC). We are getting ready for an election in July. The membership mix may change just a little bit. I expect to grow by at least 1 or 2 members.

There are around 75 members including the big three EDA firms, leading semiconductor firms and companies like IBM and HP.

We have generated a number of formal VSIA documents - specifications, standards, and other technical documents. Some are available publicly while some are only available for members. A lot of these have been used as baselines for internal development and used as a jumping off points for internal company action. The QIP Metric is one of the things that we are saying that derivative works are not allowed because if you start deviating on the standard measurement for quality, it defeats the whole purpose of having the standard. It is meant to facilitate the exchange of IP between vendors and users.

We are working collaboratively with other organizations. We are working with FSA on extending the QIP to hard IP. We are in discussions with Si2 about tagging and protecting IP and how it fits into the OpenAcess model. Right now the spec from VSIA is strictly for GDSII. That's one area where we really want to explore. We are also talking to Spirit about packaging and transfer because there are some XML aspects to some of our work that we want to make sure fir in and tie in to what Spirit is trying to do.

QIP has generated a lot of interest since it has come out in January. There have been 1,000 individual downloads of it. It is really being used as a kind of springboard to a whole lot of other work that is going on. It definitely has ties to the other working groups. For example this deliverable checklist BOM work ties in with the QIP Metric. QIP provides an overview of the quality of an IP as a whole deliverable checklist. We actually delve down into the details of specific deliverables that are being handed off. We are trying to facilitate productivity and the exchange of IP.

Would you describe QIP Metric?
QIP Metric stands for Quality IP Metric. Right now it is implemented in an Excel spreadsheet. It may not be the best mechanism but it is functional now. We are looking at what might be a better mechanism. What it does is try to quantify the quality and usability of an IP as a whole. There are three main focus areas that look at the vendor: what their methodologies and procedures are, what kind of support they have. It tries to quantify the stability of the company. Is it two guys in a garage or a really world wide organization? Then it looks at two aspects of the IP quality. It looks at things that integrators are going to need to know when they put it into their system, so the things that immediately affect them. It's the documentation, the interfaces, the build environment, the verification environment. The third area is the development of the IP. There's a lot of things that go into it that impact the quality and usability of it that the end user may not have immediate visibility into. It lets you know that care was taken in developing it and that it will definitely affect the ability to turnaround bug fixes enhancement or derivatives.

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