Use XML to build ASIC or SoC design specifications

by Karen H. Wang , TechOnline India - August 04, 2010

In a semiconductor company, the ASIC engineers design the hardware, and the hardware specification is distributed to other teams for hardware validation, embedded software development, and data-sheet documentation. Unfortunately, no standardized tools to document and distribute the specification exist. ASIC engineers often use common tools, such as Microsoft's Word or Excel, or even a plain text editor; these "tools" have many shortcomings when used to create a hardware specification.

In a semiconductor company, the ASIC engineers design the hardware, and the hardware specification is distributed to other teams for hardware validation, embedded software development, and data-sheet documentation. Unfortunately, no standardized tools to document and distribute the specification exist. ASIC engineers often use common tools, such as Microsoft's Word or Excel, or even a plain text editor; these "tools" have many shortcomings when used to create a hardware specification.

First, these tools cannot easily convey the structure of a hardware specification. The hardware design of a chip typically has a tree-like hierarchy--the chip has several logical blocks, each block contains many registers, and each register has multiple bitfields.

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