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SPIRIT Consortium Develop Standards for IP-Based Design

Industry Leaders Announce New Consortium to Develop Standards for IP-Based Design

SPIRIT Consortium Focused on Increasing Efficiency Through Standards for IP Packaging and IP Tools

Anaheim, CA, USA. Design Automation Conference. June 02, 2003.

Leading companies from the EDA, IP, system and semiconductor industries today announced the creation of a consortium to develop industry standards that will enable easier integration of semiconductor intellectual property (IP) and IP tools. The consortium, named SPIRIT (Structure for Packaging, Integrating and Re-using IP within Tool-flows), will focus on developing standards for describing and packaging IP in order to cut costs, increase ease of use and enable greater flexibility in selecting and integrating IP. The founding consortium members are ARM, Beach Solutions, Cadence Design Systems Inc., Mentor Graphics, Royal Philips Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Synopsys Inc.

"SPIRIT will address a key issue dominating the semiconductor industry today: the complexity of IP integration", said Ralph von Vignau, SPIRIT consortium chairman. "By combining our technological strengths, the SPIRIT consortium members will create standards that will help express complex IP and deliver greater flexibility and efficiency to the SoC design process."

Designers today need a mechanism to express IP integration requirements, performance and configuration capabilities. SPIRIT strives to enable automated IP integration through the development of a standard mechanism for importing complex IP bundles into SoC design tool sets. SPIRIT intends to create two proposed standards: an IP meta-data description and an IP tool integration API. The meta-data standard will create a common way of describing IP so that it is compatible with automated integration techniques. It will enable integrators to use IP from multiple sources with SPIRIT-compliant tools.

The tool integration API aims to provide a standard method for linking tools into an IP framework, enabling a more flexible, optimized development environment. SPIRIT-compliant tools will be capable of interpreting, configuring, integrating and manipulating IP blocks that comply with proposed SPIRIT standards. The EDA and IP vendors participating in SPIRIT are committed to making their IP and IP tools interoperable through the proposed SPIRIT standards.


The Structure for Packaging, Integrating and Re-using IP within Tool-flows (SPIRIT) consortium was created to develop a standard for more efficient integration of IP in System-on-Chip (SoC) platform design in two areas: IP meta-data description and a tool integration API. The consortium is comprised of leading EDA, IP and system and semiconductor companies, including ARM, Beach Solutions, Cadence Design Systems Inc., Mentor Graphics, Royal Philips Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Synopsys Inc. For more information or to become a member of SPIRIT visit

From the FAQ Document

"The goal of SPIRIT is to develop standards for describing IP and IP packaging, as well as plug-in tool IP interfacing and packaging, in order to enable more efficient and cost-effective integration of IP from multiple sources. Standards for IP meta-data description and IP tool API's will be addressed. Several of the founding SPIRIT consortium members will be actively testing the proposed standards within multiple live projects, providing a solid proof-of-concept. Once the SPIRIT consortium specifications are stable and approved, the defined standards will be transferred to an internationally recognized standards body."

Beach Solutions will contribute experience in the field of IP packaging and integration based on XML, and expertise in System-on-Chip (SoC) architectures and IP design. Beach will be Chair of Schema Working Group and will actively participate in other Technical Working Groups as appropriate... Cadence has incorporated schemas into its system level design tools for years, and has recently extended those some of those tools to support SystemC. Cadence will work in the consortium to bring this knowledge into a new and combined XML Schema, meeting the needs and goals of standardization and the users... Mentor Graphics is committed to contributing the Platform Express XML Component Schema technology to the SPIRIT consortium. This schema has been used to generate complex multiprocessor designs from a wide variety of IP sources. As a founding member, Mentor Graphics intends to be an active participant in the standardization to encourage the adoption of this evolving PBD methodology..."

"The SPIRIT consortium will consist of regular membership, and steering group membership. The steering group, consisting of at least the current set of founding members, is responsible for the defining of the standards and for making these available to members for review and comment. Each company with steering committee membership can vote on any decision affecting the direction and provision of deliverables from the consortium. The SPIRIT consortium has a chairman and co-chairman to align and drive all activities. The steering committee members have chosen Philips to act as the holder of the standard and chairmanship of the Steering Working Group, and have entrusted them to bring this into an international standard body following completion and review of the SPIRIT IP meta-data and tool API standards. Members will have access to early versions of the proposed standards and may review and provide feedback to the consortium." [excerpted from the project FAQ]



Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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