System-on-chip (SoC) projects are, by their very nature, complex and difficult to complete successfully. Specification, architecture, design, and verification are all challenging. This blog post focuses on the challenges faced by designers, driven by the convergence of applications onto a single SoC device. This increases the demand for design functionality and design performance. At the same time, market requirements generate pressure to drive down the cost of design and meet shrinking market windows due to shorter product shelf lives. Every step of the design process has become more difficult, even the seemingly simple task of assembling all the pieces that make up the SoC.
Today’s large chips may contain 500 of more instances of intellectual property (IP), a combination of new designs, reused blocks from previous projects, and licensed commercial IP. If each of these blocks averages 50 ports, then 25,000 connections must be made among them. Making these connections manually is tedious and time-consuming, with a high chance of errors. Meeting cost and schedule goals requires a big increase in the productivity of the SoC design team. Methodology improvements are needed to help accelerate assembly of chips and systems through automation.