June 23, 2005 -- The continuously increasing number of components that silicon vendors are fitting onto a single chip has been driving the need for a correlating increase in developer productivity. Designers are increasingly acquiring IP (intellectual property) from other sources and incorporating it into their designs as a strategy to enable them to more quickly complete designs and focus their engineering resources on their core competencies. Michael Kaskowitz, general manager of Mentor Graphics' IP division, characterizes IP as prepackaged design services that allow a development team to use outsourced engineering resources to gain a shorter development cycle.
Ata Khan, director of product innovation for Philips Semiconductors' microcontroller product line, notes, "While a development team should be concerned about the acquisition costs for IP, it is important to also consider the after-acquisition costs necessary to supporting and maintaining the IP." The obvious costs of acquiring IP are the provider's license fees and royalties. The hidden costs of supporting and maintaining the IP, as well as recovering from a significant design error, can be larger and more difficult to estimate. The IP provider needs to provide a basis for the designer's trust.
Reusable IP requires significantly more design effort than does IP for a single use. Reusable IP must be able to support a future user's ability to port, configure, and verify the IP for his application's requirements. Without maintenance, the IP will become obsolete and unusable; therefore, ongoing support to correct errors and incorporate updates to accommodate evolving technologies is essential to its reusability.
By Robert Cravotta, EDN Technical Editor
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.
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