New Standard Enables IP Creation in Automated Environments

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 3 February, 2010 -- The IEEE has approved a new standard that will enable the creation and exchange of Intellectual Property blocks in a highly automated design environment.
IEEE 1685, "Standard for IP-XACT, Standard Structure for Packaging, Integrating and Re-Using IP Within Tool-Flows," describes an XML Schema for meta-data documenting Intellectual Property (IP) used in the development, implementation and verification of electronic systems and an Application Programming Interface (API) to provide tool access to the meta-data.
"As designs get larger and more complex, the electronics industry is using increasing numbers of IP blocks in its designs," says Victor Berman, chair of the IEEE Computer Society Design Automation Standards Committee, which sponsored the standard. "Until now, there has been no standard description of those blocks, which has made their use both difficult and prone to error, all of which has placed a substantial financial burden on the electronics industry. This standard will finally help solve that problem."
The schema defined in IEEE 1685 provides a standard method to document IP that is compatible with automated integration techniques. The API provides a standard method for linking tools into a System Development framework, enabling a more flexible, optimized development environment. The intent is that tools compliant with this standard will be able to interpret, configure, integrate and manipulate IP blocks that comply with the proposed IP meta-data description.
"The SPIRIT Consortium has been developing and specifying the IP-XACT standard since 2003. During this time several versions were released with an increasing range of features to address many aspects of expressing IP to allow tools to import and correctly integrate IP into designs," says Ralph von Vignau, President of The SPIRIT Consortium. "The many aspects addressed include register descriptions, interconnect, verification and the use of models. The SPIRIT Consortium is very proud that the IP-XACT specification it submitted in June 2009 to the IEEE-SA for industry approval has been through the balloting process successfully."
IEEE 1685 was developed within the IEEE Standards Association Corporate Program in which each participating member entity (such as corporations or other institutions) has one vote. This industry-oriented program often allows for standards creation in one to two years, depending on participant commitment and the use of IEEE support services. The program also provides a route to international acceptance for a standard based on the IEEE's broad ties to the international standards community.

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