Ann Steffora Mutschler recently covered in her blog the progress the industry has made with OSCI transaction-level modeling (TLM 2.0) and the requirements moving forward. Per my quote in the blog, Cadence is a big advocate of standards-based designs and tools, and we believe TLM 2.0 is a good foundation for the future. This view fits with the EDA360 vision, which says you need to merge top-down and bottom-up design methodologies. The migration methodology for System Realization is going to focus on a software-driven or application-driven approach. If you look at the past (and to some extent the existing) design flow, companies have created their virtual prototyping models orthogonally (disconnected) from their RTL models and then tried to figure out how to connect the two together.
One of the inputs I gave Ann, which was not emphasized by her in the blog, is the key requirement to connect the 3 worlds of virtual prototyping, design under verification, and high-level synthesis into a single modeling environment. The industry was slow in this migration, both in the standardization committees as well as in the progress that was made by the tool suppliers. This was partially as a result of technology maturity. The existing TLM 2.0 standards and the synthesizable subset are much different. Now that we have mature high-level synthesis technology and TLM 2.0 has become a stable standard, we need to focus on the migration of these two. As for some of the customers, I met one who recently told me: "this was THE major challenge in the industry in the last 10 years."
I bet you the world will look different in the the next couple of years.