It contains the familiar levels of the silicon design and implementation (behavioral through layout) as well as a software layer. This new layer may provide firmware to complete the SOC’s functionality as well as device drivers needed for customer integration into their products.
Each layer represents a world view of the SOC at a different level of abstraction and utilizes a different set of tools to realize its function. For example, RTL and Logic levels may use logic synthesis and simulation tools while the Circuit level works with parameter extraction and circuit simulation tools.
The subsystems are implemented with internally generated IP, externally provided IP or some combination of both. Design goals such as power, area, and performance can span multiple layers. In many cases they represent constraints which must be met before the project is complete.
Verification must be addressed across all levels of the design stack. It must be developed and applied against a churning of project changes. Closure on verification is the final step in completing the design.
Moving between domains can be difficult. The design flow must be sufficiently robust to deal with changes occurring simultaneously on all levels as work progresses.
Beyond the SOC itself, other collateral is also needed for the product. This includes documentation, device models, manufacturing test suites, and so on. These must be delivered before the component can be manufactured or sold.
Global, Interdependent Teams
The organization of the tasks among the development teams can rival the intricacy of the design itself. Logic, circuit and layout designers are now joined by software and system designers.
Inclusion of external IP may also cause the IP vendor to be incorporated into the team to fix bugs or add features. These external dependencies create an extra level of headache for the integration team.
There are other stakeholders who are not directly involved in the design process.
- Management is keenly interested in determining how the design is progressing so they can assign resources and manage risk accordingly.
- Customers may need advance releases of software or device models for their own product development.
SOC design team members and stakeholders are frequently distributed worldwide. This puts an additional burden on inter-team communications in the form of time zones, information transfer, physical infrastructure and network costs
Globalizing the Collaborative Environment through Workspaces
A critical success factor of a team design is the ability to achieve efficient collaboration and communication between team members. The IC Manage Global Design Platform utilizes workspaces to provide the information sharing needed for collaboration. A workspace can present the particular state of a slice, a partitioning or the entirety of the project. At any point in time a user may have one or more active workspaces. The contents of each workspace are private to a user until committed. At this point the information then becomes public and is available to all other workspaces that need the same portion of the design space.
With GDP, workspaces can be configured so they only present those parts of the design relevant to each individual user. This keeps the contents of the workspace clear and directed to the user’s work at hand.
IC Manage’s Global Design Platform natively supports multi-site projects. The source of a workspace’s data is opaque to the user. The logical structure that the user works with is distinct from the physical structure used to populate the workspace.
Changes made to the underlying network or storage infrastructure are transparent to a project’s workspaces. In a world where a single project’s design teams are spread over the globe this level of independence eliminates disruptions due to infrastructure changes or resource reallocation.
Further, IC Manage proxy servers and read-only replicas address the real world effects of long latency network connections. Fail-over servers and back up replicas eliminate downtime and disaster recovery issues. These features contribute to the overall risk reduction that IC Manage brings to a project.
Before a collaborative environment of workspaces can be established, the content must be organized and structured. IC Manage GDP provides flexibility in allowing choices in how to structure the design space.
Design Partitioning by Data Type
The design space can be partitioned according to the data’s functional category. The first step in this organizational approach is to identify the data types used and their relationships to the team. Frequently this determination is a natural and obvious choice. For example in the following: