Taken for Granted

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Day 1 of DAC: Hogan’s heroes

Filed under: Uncategorized — July 27, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

One of the panel discussions today (Monday the 27th of July) at the DAC Pavilion on the exhibit floor was entitled “Hogan’s heroes:  the long road to system-level sign-off”.  It was moderated by Jim Hogan and featured Steve Leibson, Peter Levin and Grant Pierce as panelists.

Not the DAC 2009 Pavilion Panel ….

Jim Hogan gave a brief introduction talking about SoC platforms, heterogeneous multi-process platforms and the resulting shifts in chip design goals and methods, and posed the question of whether abstraction would allow designers to move to an “SoC platform signoff” from RTL signoff.   In the discussion, Jim also stated that heterogeneous multiprocessors in designs such as the TI OMAP platform is the change that has forced a change in methodology.

Grant Pierce  (Sonics) made an interesting observation, by introducing the concept of “The SoC OS” and discussed Broadcom’s multiple WiFi products as an interesting example of this.   He said that there was a common, configurable driver for the product family that interrogates the HW for its configuration definition (i.e., via introspective technques), and then the information derived is used to configure the driver itself to match the hardware.  This enables software developers to develop more generic code that will work across the product family and the SW platform (the SoC OS) will manage the resources.

Some final discussion had Steve Leibson suggest that changes in design methods had to overcome the HDL inertia of many of today’s HW-oriented designers; Jim Hogan suggested that in the past we just “waited for the old guys to die” (see my last post) but that we can’t do this anymore and instead may have to change their religion.  Full immersion in SW for the HW designers?


  1. Loic Le Toumelin:

    As former OMAP IC design manager at TI i would like to confirm the reality of the statement that “heterogeneous multi processors in design are driving new methodology”.

    I am also convinced that system level sign-off cannot remain a dream for too long and should quickly become a must-do. The first who will achieve that, will likely become industry winners.

    The main issue, as i see it in my new “LLT Design” consulting activities, is indeed the difficulty of the “change of religion”, without religious war…

    Being from France, I remember Joan of Arc and i dont wish anybody including myself, to be burnt on a public place neither as an “old HW-oriented” designer nor as an ESL fan.

    Loic Le Toumelin

  2. Grant Martin:

    Loic, it is nice to hear from you and your insight based on TI OMAP experience is valuable. I certainly agree, religious wars are to be avoided. We should be able to evolve through education without violence!

  3. SKMurphy » DAC 2009 Blog Coverage Roundup:

    [...] Grant Martin on “Panel: Hogan’s Heroes – The Long Road to System Signoff” in “Day 1 of DAC: Hogan’s Heroes“ [...]

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