Thanks to shrinking process technologies, by the year 2000 it will be possible to place 40 million gates on a single piece of silicon. Reusable IP is the most efficient way to use those gates, but how tough is it to incorporate?
As process technologies shrink and the number of transistors available on a piece of silicon climbs, more of an electronic system can be incorporated onto a single die. The advantages of increased integration include better system reliability, lower system cost, smaller size, and lower power consumption. The problem the design community faces is how to use this silicon area efficiently, given increasing time-to-market pressures and shorter product life cycles. One of the answers is to incorporate reusable “virtual components” as part of a large system-level chip. This design methodology is analogous to the use of standard, off-the-shelf components in board-level designs. Such virtual components are called silicon intellectual property (IP). These components include: general-purpose functions, such as microcontrollers, bus interfaces, and data communications cores . . . Read More