Semiconductors have played very important role in making internet successful and that has unleashed the potential of e-commerce. Today, we see names like Alibaba, whose primary focus is on commodity trade. I couldn’t imagine an e-commerce type of web portal for semiconductor services until I looked at the eSilicon website. What an innovative idea, it opens new paradigms! It’s at the right time when we are feeling acute need of IP cataloging, selection, and instant procurement in the semiconductor industry. The idea goes beyond IP for other semiconductor services such as instant quotes for full-chip manufacturing and automatic tracking of progress through the supply chain. In this article, I will talk about IP.
When I attended an on-line webinarabout their IPM portfolio, posted at eSilicon website, I felt it to be simply amazing. According to the need of semiconductor business, it can do all that is required for a semiconductor IP. A general e-commerce portal cannot do that much for its commodities. Imagine you need to take a look and try a pair of shoes or apparel fitting rightly on you, you can’t do that at an e-commerce portal, and you will have to go to the store!
At eSilicon, after registration at the site, you can review the available eSilicon-developed IP, build one according to your need, download, try it in your SoC to see if it fits well, and then only buy it. The IPM release 1.0 launched in last December includes all features up to free trial of IP. The next release in coming March will include procurement on-line, so wait if you have already done free trials and plan to buy one on-line!
Currently the IP includes memory compilers and standard and speciality IO libraries. One can choose a particular foundry and technology node to see all available IP with that combination. In the above picture, the IP available with TSMCat 28nm are displayed; there are 29 in total with TSMC, out of which there are 10 at 28nm. By selecting any product, one can see all features and options for that product. For silicon verified products there is an option to display ‘silicon report’ for users to review all test results, chip description, correlation analysis etc. Also, user manuals are on-line.
To compile a memory instance, one can choose from many available options for the memory parameters, PVTs, and various output views. For GDS view, one will need to have special privileges to gain access. One can have a PVT which may not be available with standard IPs on the shelf.
During memory subsystem analysis, one can see a memory instance parameters in an excel spreadsheet; add more rows to generate more instances with varying parameters. A batch file can be created for the whole memory subsystem and uploaded.
The PPA (power, performance and area) evaluation and comparison between technologies can be done with dynamically updating graphs. So, once a designer is completely satisfied with a particular IP on-line, after that she can download it and try it with her SoC to validate further. That’s a true value to delight customer, “try before you buy”.
A complete data file with PPAs for all instances can be exported which can then be used for further analysis and decision about power budgeting, size, configuration, and so on for a memory subsystem in an SoC. The IP between different technologies, architectures, PVTs etc. can be easily compared.
If a suitable IP is not found on eSilicon portal, then a special request can be filled in; eSilicon tries to obtain it. This on-line portal is an effective way to get optimized and differentiated IP that can accelerate SoC development to meet today’s aggressive time-to-market window.
It’s a novel concept by eSilicon which is getting great customer feedback. After the first baseline with credibility, robustness and on-line procurement process going full stream, eSilicon plans to further expand with more IP, technologies and partners.
Go through this ~30 minutes free on-line demo, in which Lisa Minwell will take you through the complete working model of IPM that provides an interesting feel of on-line IP purchase. You don’t have to work through weeks to procure an IP.
Also view “Real-world benefits of on-line GDSII and MPW quotes” and “The 10-Minute Tapeout Quote” videos. They are available on the same page and are very interesting.