One of the hallmarks of the SPIRIT Consortium, a standards organization focused on IP/tool integration, is its IP-XACT specification. IPXACT provides a unique way to describe IP metadata in an XML format, enabling the exchange of architectural design data at all points in the front-end design flow (see "Design Reuse Comes Down To Collaboration,").
Thanks to the donation of the SystemRDL format from Denali Software, the Consortium now hopes to extend the set of deliverables to encompass human-readable data formats. The specification that will result from the combination of IP-XACT and SystemRDL will allow efficient entry of register description data that can be automatically mapped into IP-XACT metadata for tool-to-tool data exchange, directly improving multivendor flow integration (see the figure).
With this donation, the SPIRIT Consortium will soon work on producing a standard format to express the design intent of registers, including structure, function, and relationships, as well as access semantics. The deliverables from the Consortium will be engineered to ensure consistency between the human-readable register formats and the IP-XACT metadata specification for multivendor flow and IP integration.
"An important aspect of the donation of SystemRDL is that we'll be able to ensure that data described in SystemRDL can also be captured in IP-XACT, and that there's a definitive translation," says Gary Delp, technical director of the SPIRIT Consortium. "Rather than having divergence, which was a possibility, we have converged the data model."
SystemRDL, which is already in its third generation, was designed to provide a simple yet powerful way to describe control registers. "IP-XACT is in XML," says Delp, "and that's an excellent format for tool interchange and consistency. We can apply all kinds of rules to it to ensure that the semantics are well understood. But it's verbose for people to write. SystemRDL is one of the formats that will be qualified to act as a feeder from humans into IP-XACT."
There's no release date set for the register description format, but members of the SPIRIT Consortium will have early access to the candidate specification Following its release, the specification will be a candidate for entering the IEEE standards process. The public release of SystemRDL will remain available during the development at www.systemRDL.org.
The SPIRIT Consortium