Browse Prior Art Database

User Tool Interface Design for Custom Chip Design Project

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000117021D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 123K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bergman, S: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The XMAKE system addresses a custom chip design environment for the RISC System/6000*.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 48% of the total text.

User Tool Interface Design for Custom Chip Design Project

      The XMAKE system addresses a custom chip design environment for
the RISC System/6000*.

The key features of the XMAKE system are:
  1.  Separates user interface from methodology.
  2.  Uses AIX* make command for enforcing tool and data
relationships.
  3.  Provides user both MOTIF and command line interface, with
       identical results.
  4.  Is completely adaptable to other projects or tasks.
  5.  Allows for job submission to remote machines on network.
  6.  Provides ability to completely define tool and data environment
       for final consistency checking.

      The first problem in a custom design environment is finding a
way to provide the designers with access to the tools that they need
to run.  This task has traditionally been provided by a front end
menu system that allows the designer to fill in required parameters
and invoke the desired tool.  The problem with this old system is
that it does not address the need to know when to run a tool.  It is
the designer's responsibility to keep track of which design files
have
changed and what tools need to be run against them.  While this
worked
when the entire design was contained in a handful of files, it falls
apart when a team has to deal with hundreds, even thousands of files.

      The XMAKE system takes a different approach, by delivering
'Master' Makefiles that contain a totally defined methodology
relationship of a tool to its data input and output.  This system
frees the designer from having to remember which files need to be
processed.  He only needs to remember what task he wishes to perform.
He also has the freedom to perform the task using the XMAKE MOTIF
interface, or using the standard AIX command line.  Since both ways
process his or her requests using the same Makefile, the results are
always identical.

      By separating the user interface issues from the methodology
issues, the XMAKE system can be easily set up for a project or task.
The MOTIF code does not have to change to support a new set of
Makefiles.  This flexibility allows each project to administer its
own
methodology flow through the custom coding of Makefiles without
having
to request changes to the user interface code from a tools
department.

      The use of the standard AIX make facility incurs no additional
cost to a project thinking about adopting this tool.  It is a
standard part of base AIX.  The other advantage is that any program
in the system can be invoked from a Makefile.  This makes tool
additions a relatively simple process.

      The ability to completely specify the tool and data paths
through environment variables make it possible to have complete
control over where a tool or data file comes from.  One of the
current problems with allowing users to run tools in a free-form
environment is that each user could potentially be accessing
downlevel tools or data.  Ag...