An important part of any project is the set of tools chosen to perform design work, and their associated configuration files. Typically, the project lead or responsible CAD person will decide on these tools ahead of time, and many tradeoffs are considered when making these choices. Then, once work begins, these choices are generally locked down for the duration of the project. However, tools, PDKs, simulation libraries, and other design environment resources will each go through their own revisions during the lifecycle of a project.
Given this background, we can see that an IP-centric process around tool selection and design environment management can be used in the same way that functional blocks are managed in the design.
This paper presents and discusses a methodology for including design environment resources as hierarchical IP blocks within the design project itself, and how its versions and lifecycle changes can be managed alongside the other IP’s in the project.