Spirit moves to system-level spec

The Spirit Consortium has released version 1.4 of its IP-Xact standard, an update that brings in support for transaction-level models and a generator interface that makes it possible for configurable intellectual property (IP) to create electronic documentation on the fly.

Version 1.4 of the IP-Xact was originally expected to be released last year but the complexity of the standard and the need to synchronise with the efforts to standardise transaction-level modelling with SystemC caused delays. “It is not a simple problem,” said Bill Chown, product group director in Mentor Graphics’ system-level engineering division and a member of the Spirit steering committee. “The more time we devoted to it, we realised how long it would take and we felt it was far better to get a consistent result.”

As version two of the Open SystemC Initiative (OSCI) transaction-level modelling standard is still only at draft phase, Spirit took the decision to leave some parts of IP-Xact version 1.4 open-ended. Version 1.4 is designed to work with TLM 2.0, providing metadata about the interfaces offered by models. “The validation effort is continuing,” said Gary Delp, distinguished engineer at LSI Logic and Spirit technical director. “The standard is complete to the point where this work needs to be out in public where we can get wider validation.”

Delp claimed that a growing number of users are using the group’s standards to document their IP and help streamline chip designs that make use of inhouse and third-party IP cores: “There are some companies who are not even reviewing members who are putting together designs with IP-Xact,” he said.

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