One challenge in SoC projects is maintaining consistency between the specification, design and documentation throughout the product lifecycle. Imagine the chaos if your specification for power is 300 mW, the design is actually 350 mW and the documentation promises 250 mW. Traditionally the design and documentation process are separate and unrelated, creating opportunities for discontinuities. One company that has decided to focus on keeping specification, design and documentation consistent is Magillem, and they delivered a capability called ISDD (Integrated Specification, Design & Documentation) back in May 2014.
In this methodology you would use a Magillem front-end capture tool using common parts (instances, configurability, interfaces, hierarchy, partitions, hardware-software interfaces) that then automatically generates all of the representations from a single source. There is an Accelleara standard called IP-XACT/IEEE1685 that uses the XML schema to define IP blocks. What the Magillem approach does is to use the XML schema to link the specification of design elements captured in IP-XACT with a set of XML fragments for documentation content. As your design changes you can propagate updates to the associated documentation. Using standards like XML you can now aggregate design data with any external product information.
So your entire SoC becomes a coherent set of hardware descriptions, software and documentation, all tied together through XML. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools from companies like Dassault Systemes connect with the Magillem Content Platform providing you with:
- IP catalog
- Defect management
- Revision control
- Configuration control
Customers like ST Microelectronics are using this ISDD approach from Magillem in their SoC development process.
Magillem has a lot of experience with XML-based tools, and with their Content Assembly Platform have served diverse markets like legal and technology. They are also members of: Accellera, Cadence Connections, OCP IP, ARM connected Community, EDAC and ARTEMISIA.
Related – A Brief History of Magillem
It is now possible to maintain consistency between all of the representations in an SoC by using a single source that keeps everything updated. Hardware, firmware and documentation can all be connected, instead of separated and disjointed.