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1.3 The Interface Standard

The OpenAccess Concept

The OpenAccess approach to IC design was created to

  • Reduce – preferrably eliminate – translation steps in the EDA flow.
  • Prevent loss of data and/or data semantics in transfer between tools.
  • Standardize representation semantics, avoiding conflicts in data representation and misinterpretation.
  • Centralize name mapping support.
  • Centralize accessibility of all design data, assuring completeness of the stored information.
  • Enable high-performance, tight loops among tools such as placement, timing, extraction, etc.
  • Realize "plug'n'play" of tools from different vendors and proprietary applications in a flow.

To achieve these goals OpenAccess has been crafted as much more than just a paper API. OA is a collaborative effort by companies in the IC design chain, working to meet these major challenges for IC design. This effort consists of three, primary building blocks:

  • An openly documented API Standard.
  • A Reference Implementation of that Standard.
  • A detailed OpenEvolution process to manage on-going development, distribution, and support of both the API and Reference Implementation.

The OpenAccess Standard consists of several components that define the interface:

  • An information model defined by a collection of entity relationship diagrams.
  • This model describes a conceptual perspective of the objects and their relationships, but also includes some specification level detail, such as navigability across object relationships.

  • A data model defined by C++ header files, which specify class and function interface details.
  • The API specification, which presents the header information in a more readable format and includes additional constraints.
  • This specification is automatically generated by the publicly available Doxygen package from the actual C++ headers. Class inheritance trees, functions and their arguments, enumerated lists, and other basic syntax information, are augmented by constraint information contained in specially formatted comments, automatically producing a convenient, HTML documentation web that is extensively hyperlinked. This technique ensures centralization of the specification details directly tied to the actual implementation code.

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