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Semiconductor-IP directory for FPGAs indexes over 17,000 IP blocks and FPGA devices!

April 28, 2010

Today, I came across a very interesting story, which stated that Parallel Engines has launched the world’s largest semiconductor-IP directory for FPGAs. According to the company, the site — http://www.FPGAIPDirectory.com, indexes over 17,000 IP blocks and FPGA devices!

How does this help the global semiconductor industry? Most critically, customers can now search for semiconductor-IP and retrieve IP vendor datasheets, IP meta-information, and FPGA device configurations. Also, the meta-information includes IP interfaces, LUT, BRAM, I/O and embedded IP resources, costs and packages.

According to the release, Parallel Engines is the brainchild of its CEO, George Janac, Electronic Design Automation pioneer, founder of Chip Estimate; High Level Design Systems, and startup investor. “FPGA design has long been served by a disaggregated IP supply chain,” says Janac.

The next best thing to do was to get in touch with George Janac and have his thoughts.

First, I quizzed Janac about the need for such a site. He said that today, most IP portals are really the outgrowth of IPs for ASICs and SoCs.

Janac added: “The FPGA IP market really has no central IP place of its own. Also there is a unique need in FPGA to combine both IP and devices. Much of what is ASIC and SoC hard-IP (I/O, PHY, memory, PLL, etc.) is really embedded in an FPGA device. Hence, the need for a specialized portal. Also, many ASIC and SoC suppliers do not sell in FPGA and vice versa.” Very interesting indeed!

If this is the case, why develop such a site now, and why not earlier?

Janac explained: “Timing is driven by the sizes of the new generation of FPGAs, especially the recent announcements of the upcoming 28nm FPGA devices from Altera and Xilinx, respectively. These device will put the FPGA devices two to  three generations ahead in IC technology compared to ASIC. It means that more and more systems that were ASIC, could be placed in FPGA.

“Additionally, we are seeing more heterogeneous FPGA devices from companies like Actel. These have high embedded content for analog, and ARM cores. Finding this kind of IP and mapping to these devices needs a new approach.”

Giving FPGA designers visibility of semicon-IP choices

So, how will the FPGAIPDirectory website help the global semiconductor industry?

He added: “Our main goal is to give FPGA designers the visibility of what the semiconductor-IP choices and help them find the best devices for their applications. We also provide FPGA IP-vendors a place where they can congregate around and interact with users.

“There are approximately 17,000 parts in the directory from 300 vendors. We also list devices from Xilinx, Altera, Actel and Lattice Semiconductor.”

What’s the roadmap ahead for this website? Janac noted: “Our roadmap is to provide a set of tools that can combine IP into a platform, and map it onto the most appropriate and cost effective FPGA device. This is our FpgaRFQ beta program that we have announced.”

George Janac and the entire team behind FPGAIPDirectory need to be congratulated for this highly commendable effort!

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  1. Puja Bhalla
    April 29, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for the information, Pradeep.

  2. April 30, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Here’s a comment posted by Jim Brakefield on LinkedIn.

    I maintain a spreadsheet of FPGA chips on my web site: brakefieldresearch.com/lists
    Some columns vary in meaning with chip family.

    Overall it is a great crib sheet for doing chip selection, and it’s free. Then again it’s accuracy is not guaranteed.

    The IP directory mentioned by Pradeep does not have a good search engine: Searched on CORDIC and did not get any of those from Actel.

  3. George Janac
    April 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    The data is accurately mined. The issue is how Actel lists the CORDIC engine. If the user types CoreCORDIC or Coordinate Rotation, he will find the part he is looking for.

    The Actel website listing never spells out CORDIC as a standalone word for that part.

    Hope this helps!

  4. Endric Schubert
    May 6, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Great new site! I’ll put it into my bag of tricks for the next FPGA project.
    One suggestion:

    Our company, Missing Link Electronics, comes from the “Systems” world where getting an IP core also means integrating that core into an FPGA-based SoC.

    For that purpose, it would be quite helpfull if one could refine the search by bus connect interfaces (PLB/OPB/AMBA/WishBone). And, sometimes even more important, refine the search to IP cores which come with tested! device drivers for QNX/Linux/OSEK.

    • George Janac
      May 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      If you put AMBA or AXI or OPB in the search line it will list only IP with those on-chip bus connectors. This is available today. In our next product we will enable you to create an on-chip bus specification.

      Cross linking between IP and device drivers is really beyond what and reasonably be minded today. It is a good suggestion, but unfortunately there is really no path to make that happened right now. We will put in the list to try to figure out. It is a good suggestion.

  5. Harn Hua Ng
    May 6, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Nice aggregation of FPGA IP and certainly there are few sites like this.

    I’m wondering, what are the criteria for getting a piece of IP listed? Personally it seems like a good idea to be able to filter on parameters like: – has this IP been verified on hardware?
    – if yes, which FPGAs/CPLDs has it been run on?
    – what are the max frequencies, area and power numbers for it? … etc.

    But of course, mining that kind of data would be a gargantuan effort.

    In addition, there doesn’t seem to be open source IP in their database, like those from OpenCores.org. I wonder if there are plans to include those?

    • George Janac
      May 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      Some of the information will be available in the future on a subscription basis. Database already has much of the frequency information, which FPGA it was implemented in. Information is just not visible to users yet.

      Getting a IP listed starts with sending a request to one of the general Parallel Engines emails.

      Whether something is verified in hardware is subject to source reliability. We either have to take a vendors or user word for this. This is something we will address in the future.

      We are planing to build a separate catalog of free IP, not just OpenCores. In a month or two, we will work with the user community begin to build an comprehensive index. The result will likely be a separate micro-site.

      Thank you for your comments. — George

  6. John1210
    May 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Very nice site!

  1. May 16, 2010 at 4:37 am
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