1999 to see 'plethora' of ICs using VSI spec

1999 to see ‘plethora’ of ICs using VSI spec
Richard Ball The first ICs designed using specifications from the virtual socket interface (VSI) alliance will appear next year. “In 1999, we’ll see a plethora of chips, components and tools,” Doug Fairbairn, president of the alliance, told EW. Launched with great fanfare in September 1996, the VSI alliance promised to transform the way ICs are designed. It would allow designers to mix and match intellectual property and cores from multiple sources. Chip design would become as easy as designing a PCB full of standard logic, alliance members claimed. Since its launch, little has been heard from the alliance. This was to be expected, argues Fairbairn: “It’ll take a year before tools and virtual components are available to meet the specifications.” Last year the VSI looked at the problems and started to develop specifications. Next month, specifications from the mixed signal and implementation/ verification working groups will be released. The other four working groups’ results will be available by July, said Fairbairn. The VSI is now working to ensure that people adopt the standards. Even if they do not, Fairbairn says, the alliance has achieved something tangible. “What I told people all along is that we’ve focused people in the industry on the problems,” he said. “By stating what the problem was, we’ve mobilised the industry and galvanised it into action.” Companies including Fujitsu have designed chips using the specifications.

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