Electronic Design

Group Forms To Support Standardized IP Core Socket Interface

For system-on-a-chip (SoC) design to become mainstream, it be-hooves the semiconductor in- dustry to embrace a common intellectual property (IP) core interface that would make IP integration a true "plug-and-play" proposition. That's what the Open Core Protocol International Partnership (OCP-IP), Portland, Ore., has in mind. The endeavor has been formed to support, promote, and enhance a specification that defines complete IP core communication requirements.

The effort is based on the Open Core Protocol, which was donated to the OCP-IP as "community source" property along with supporting tools and technology by its developer, Sonics Inc., Mountain View, Calif. The Open Core Protocol is a socket interface specification that enables comprehensive, standardized definitions of a core's unique on-chip interfaces. In addition to Sonics, Nokia, Texas Instruments, MIPS Technologies, and United Microelectronics Corp. will become OCP-IP founding members and initial participants on the group's Governing Steering Committee.

Because the Open Core Protocol is bus-independent and addresses data, control, and test flows, it's a suitable departure point for an industry-standard IP core socket interface. The protocol fully decouples a core's operation from its communication behavior and enables independent IP core design and reuse. As the common socket, the protocol is flexible enough to work in SoCs with multiple processors and bus interconnect structures.

To allow easy inclusion of the socket in all IP cores, the socket standard must be accompanied by an implementation and validation tool suite, a test and packaging tool, a C-level application programming interface, a bridge library, and technical support and certification program services. Beyond its donation of the Open Core Protocol as community source property, Sonics has also given OCP-IP ownership of all those supporting elements.

Membership in the OCP-IP consists of two levels. Community membership costs $10,000 a year and brings full access to all community source products. Sponsor membership, which costs $25,000 a year, offers eligibility for inclusion in working groups that will define the standard going forward.

For more information, contact the OCP-IP at (503) 291-2560 or via e-mail at [email protected]

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