EDA360 represents a significant change in which the EDA industry plays a broader role in the creation of hardware/software systems ready for applications deployment. A shift this profound must be rooted in industry standards, according to Steve Schulz, president of the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2).
Schulz gave a presentation on "Setting the Standards for EDA360" at the recent Design Automation Conference (DAC) in the Cadence EDA360 Theater. Following his presentation, I did a brief video interview with Schulz, which is embedded at the end of this blog post.
In his presentation, Schulz noted that EDA360 "describes how EDA will stay relevant by adapting to shifting needs." He noted that it's no longer sufficient to design a chip in isolation-software, hardware, and architecture experts must work together as a team. If the EDA industry cannot support this change, customers will move outside the EDA environment for their needs, and EDA companies will lose value as solution providers.
Bringing in Software
To support "more than Moore" IC integration, hardware developers must recognize the characteristics of embedded software, Schulz said. "Rather than force EDA into the world of software, we can integrate key software development information into EDA," he said. One approach, he said, would be to characterize essential software parameters and pass them into the EDA environment to influence software/hardware tradeoffs. This requires standards that do not exist today.
What of standards that do exist? There are a number that will be important for EDA360. One is the venerable OpenAccess database, which allows designers to transfer data easily between tools that can read and write to it. Schulz also mentioned the following Si2 standards efforts:
- OpenPDK, which makes it possible to define a process development kit (PDK) once and then translate it into EDA vendor tools and formats. Schulz noted that 3D-aware PDKs are needed for 3D IC design.
- The Common Power Format (CPF), which allows designers to express power intent.
- Low-power modeling, which raises the abstraction level of low-power information. (The Low Power Coalition is supporting both CPF and low-power modeling).
- OpenDFM, which provides a higher-level view of design for manufacturability information.
- Open3D, a new effort to develop standards for 3D-ICs and 2.5D (silicon interposer) flows.
New efforts will be needed as well, Schulz said, such as new data exchange "bridging" standards. And the time to start is now. Standards efforts should start around 4 years before the initial standards are actually needed, he said.
A Closer Look
In the video interview below, Schulz provides more details on why standards are needed for EDA360, what standards are needed, and how standards can support hardware/software integration and modeling. I also ask what's new and exciting at Si2. Here Schulz mentions Open3D as well as the recent donation of OpenLPM (Low Power Methodology) to the IEEE 1801 working group to increase interoperability between CPF and the Unified Power Format (UPF).
If video fails to open, click here.
There are certainly non-Si2 standards that are important to EDA360, including SystemC, Open SystemC Initiative (OSCI) TLM 2.0, and the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM). For a broad perspective on EDA360-related standards, see my recent blog post. And remember the parting words from Schulz' DAC presentation - "we are all stakeholders in this." Broad participation within a standards-based ecosystem is crucial to move electronic design to the next level.